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Republic of Korea
Economy, agriculture and food security
The total population economically active in agriculture in 2009 is an estimated 1 350 000 inhabitants, amounting to 6 percent of the economically active population, of which 44 percent are women. Each farmer has on average 0.52 ha. Gross domestic product (GDP) was US$832 512 million in 2009. Agriculture accounted for 2.6 percent of GDP, compared with 5.2 percent in 1999.
The absolute size of the area for rice cultivation has been decreasing continuously as such land has been diverted considerably to other purposes such as construction of public facilities, houses, factories and roads and growing of other crops. However, the ratio of the rice cultivation area to total arable land has been maintained at around 50 percent. There have been changes in the type of crop cultivated owing to changes in profitability as well as the impact from imported agricultural products.
Cultivation of grains, except rice, is decreasing as they have low profitability. On the contrary, the area of land used for growing vegetables and fruits and for greenhouse farming, which can yield more profit is increasing (MAF, 2005). Food crops grown in addition to rice are barley, soybeans, red bean, green bean, sweet potato, potato, maize, millet and sorghum. There is very little wheat cultivation because of the lack of competitiveness and therefore it is largely imported.