South Korean farmers protest government policies

On July 4, in the Republic of Korea, peasants gathered outside the National Assembly to convene a National Congress. Their gathering aimed to address the critical situation in rural areas, advocating for national policy reforms to protect small-scale food producers in the face of climate crises, crop losses, rising input costs, and price volatility. The meeting attracted more than 3,000 participants. The event brought tensions with law enforcement when attempts to bring farm machinery to the protest were blocked, leading to fights and injuries to a peasant. Arrests were also reported, including of a young peasant leader.

Protesters criticized the government’s policy of reducing import tariffs, saying the measures led to market instability and an influx of foreign agricultural products. They argued that such policies were detrimental to local agriculture and food production. Specific concerns were raised about the impact of these policies on commodity prices and the profitability of domestic agriculture.

Representatives from various agricultural associations shared their insights into the challenges faced by producers. For example, Kim Chang-soo of the National Garlic Producers Association pointed to unfavorable weather conditions affecting garlic production, leading to higher costs and lower market prices. Nam Jong-woo of the National Onion Producers Association pointed to unsustainable retail prices for onions and the negative impact of imported onions on domestic prices.


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