Food security has always been an important concern.
With COVID-19 and the impact of climate change… countries that heavily rely on imports for most of their food, like South Korea… are at greater risk.
Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation says building a food and grain processing terminal will bring a drastic improvement in food security.
It says, Saemangeum, a reclaimed area on the coast of Jeollabuk-do Province in the southwest of Korea,… would be the best location, since it is about two-thirds the size of Seoul and has easy access to the sea.
"If we build storage facilities and also make processing facilities next to it, we can supply food at a lower price.
The location would be used to import grains from places like the U.S. and Europe,… and then process them for export to other countries in Asia.
The base would also allow a sufficient amount of grain to be stored and used in case of emergencies.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have closed their borders. No matter how much grain is piled up in other countries, it can't be shipped. Many countries put a ban on exports."
An expert underlined the importance of stockpiling crops especially under such circumstances.
"I can say that this is a very innovative idea in terms of food security. We can be the first ones to get access to the food because it's right there."
Another expert added it would be an "ideal plan" to run the grain processing and storage facility in the long run, but would not be easy to see the effects within a short period of time.
This comes as South Korea is among the many countries that rely heavily on imports.
In 2019, the nation's grain self-sufficiency rate, including feed grains, stood at 21 percent, meaning the majority of grains consumed in the country were brought in from overseas.
Experts say that it is important to boost food independence as no one knows when the next global crisis could occur, and what threats it could pose to the world.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News."