S. Korea’s agro-food exports up 5.6 pct in 2017

SEJONG-- South Korea's exports of agricultural products and food increased 5.6 percent in 2017 on upbeat sales of fresh fruits and ramyeon, offsetting sluggish poultry sales in the wake of bird flu outbreaks, the government said Thursday.

South Korea exported US$6.83 billion worth of agricultural products and food last year, up from $6.46 billion in 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Outbound shipments of fresh foods slipped 1.2 percent to $1.09 billion as sales of poultry tumbled to 58.7 percent following the outbreak of avian influenza (AI) during the winter season.

Overseas sales of strawberries and gingseng rose 29 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively, on strong demand from Southeast Asian nations.

Exports of processed foods advanced 7 percent to $5.73 billion as sales of South Korean-made instant noodles, or ramyeon, jumped 31.2 percent to $3.08 billion.

Shipments to Japan, South Korea's biggest food export market, gained 13.4 percent to $13.14 million, marking a turn back to growth for the first time in five years.

Sales to China declined 10 percent to $9.87 million due to the negative consumer sentiment, with diplomatic relations turning sour following Seoul's deployment of an American missile defense system in early 2017.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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