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South Korea to lift barley export restriction

The South Korean government said Wednesday it is moving to lift export restrictions on barley to give farmers a chance to deal with the steady decline in domestic demand.

The measures, be implemented after the country's grain control law is revised in the coming months, reflects changes in South Korea's diet, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said.

As of late 2006, the barley surplus reached 224,000 tonnes as South Koreans on average consumed less than two kilograms of the grain per year. The government buys a portion to hold as a national reserve, while 110,000 tons are made into animal feed. Last year's barely production was 610,000 tons.

"When the grain control law was made, there was a shortage of staples such as rice and barley, but this is no longer the case," a ministry official said. "Because the country will no longer buy barley from farmers starting in 2012, there was additional need for an outlet for the grain."

South Koreans are consuming more wheat, meat and fruits compared to in the past and this has caused traditional grain consumption to fall off.

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