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Food security 'challenge for peninsula'

Bishop claims three-quarters of Koreans would be at risk of hunger if there was a blockade

  • ucanews.com reporter, Seoul
  • Korea
  • July 6, 2011
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A bishop in Suwon said in a recent statement that food security has worsened because of what he deemed a “neo-liberalized world economy,” global climate change and the controversial Four Rivers project.

Nearly one billion people around the world suffered from hunger, said the statement, but of particular concern for the prelate were the consequences of food insecurity in the face of ongoing tensions with the north.

“If war blocks food imports, three fourths of South Koreans cannot secure their food for existence,” Bishop Matthias Ri Ioung-hoon said in the statement ahead of a planned Farmer’s Sunday on July 17.

Self-sufficiency of farmers in the south stood at only 26.7 percent as of last year, the prelate claimed in the statement.

A recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease on the peninsula and the proposed Four Rivers project threatened to make an already difficult situation worse as farmers stand to lose more arable land, he added.

Bishop Ri quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for the World Day of Peace last year, in which the Pontiff said “strategies for rural development centered on small farmers and their families should be explored” as a means of alleviating poverty and combatting the effects of global climate change.

The statement concluded by stressing the importance of cooperation between rural and urban parishes that the Church has promoted for two decades.

Vivian Lim Bong-jae, president of the Korea Catholic Farmer’s Movement, said on July 4 that rice prices have fallen while production costs have increased.

She further criticized the government for moves to adjust prices by opening up state rice reserves.

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