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Joining the FAC to Expand Humanitarian Aid
Date 2017-09-11
1. The government (the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is pushing forward with joining food aid agreements* with a view to contributing to humanitarian food aid, promoting global food security for developing countries, and addressing a domestic rice supply and demand problem stemming from structural oversupply.
   * The Food Assistance Convention (FAC), which came into force in July 1968, currently has 14 member countries including the United States, Japan and EU nations. The member states pledged a total of US$ 3.32 billion in food aid in 2017.

2. The proposal for joining the FAC, which has been pursued through consultation within the government, was recently resolved at the 38th Cabinet Meeting (August 29, 2017). After the ratification of the proposal by the National Assembly, the procedure for Korea to join the FAC will be finalized by the end of this year.
※ After completing the domestic procedures for joining the food aid agreement, the government needs to go through joining procedures such as submitting an application form to the FAC secretariat, the approval of the application, and the deposition of the application documents in UN Headquarters.

3. FAC membership is expected to empower the Korean government to expand its humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups in developing countries suffering from food shortages, thereby enhancing its status as a responsible country contributing to the resolution of common problems in the international community.
ㅇ In particular, the government is moving forward with a plan to provide about 50,000 tons (46 billion won) of domestic rice to developing countries through the UN World Food Program (WFP) in 2018. To this end, the government applied the plan to the government’s budget of next year after reviews by the Council of Grant-Related Organizations (presided over by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs on May 2, 2017) and the International Development Cooperation Committee (presided over by the Prime Minister on June 30, 2017).

4. It is expected that a structural domestic rice glut in Korea will give rise to a surplus of 200,000 to 300,000 tons of rice annually. Under these circumstances, if Korea gives 50,000 tons (17-25% of the surplus) as aid, it will have the same effect as making 10,000-hectare farmland idle, thereby, helping to stabilize rice supply and demand.
ㅇ In 2018, the first year of implementation, the government will select five recipient countries at the recommendation of the WFP, and grant 5,000 to 50,000 tons of rice to each country, taking into account their need for urgent relief and the potential of international cooperation.

5. Kim Yung-rok, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said, "It is quite worthwhile for us to be able to give hope to people in poor countries who are suffering from war, natural disasters and infectious diseases by way of rice produced through Korean farmers’ hard work. This food aid is also expected to contribute to the stabilization of rice supply and demand in Korea, making this project more meaningful.” 


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