By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's agricultural ministry said Wednesday it plans to purchase 350,000 tons of rice harvested this year, which will be reserved before being released into the market in the future, depending on demand.
Under the plan, the government will purchase 240,000 tons of packaged rice, along with 100,000 tons of pre-dried rice by the end of December, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Another batch of 10,000 tons will be saved for the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) scheme. The ASEAN+3 refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its three partners -- South Korea, China and Japan.
ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
The combined amount marks a slight rise from 332,000 tons purchased in the previous year.
South Korea will purchase the rice at the average market price estimated from Oct. 5 to Dec. 25. The government will initially pay 30,000 won (US$25) per 40-kilogram bag and hand out the remaining amount at the end of 2021.
The ministry paid out 75,140 won per 40-kilogram bag in 2020.
The volume will also include 5,000 tons of eco-friendly rice, which will go through chemical residue tests after being purchased at an extra high price.