Rice was the most important crop and yields were impressive.
As noted by Donald S. Macdonald, however, rising wage levels and
land values have made it expensive to produce. Rice represented
about 90 percent of total grain production and over 40 percent of
farm income; the 1988 rice crop was 6.5 million tons. Rice was
imported in the 1980s, but the amount depended on the success of
domestic harvests. The government's rice support program reached
a record US$1.9 billion in 1986, as compared with US$890 million
in 1985. By raising procurement prices by 14 percent over the
1986 level, Seoul achieved a rice price structure that was about
five times that of the world market in 1987.
Barley was the second most important crop. Its production
declined from about 1.5 million tons in 1970 to about 561,500
tons in 1988. Other crops included such grains as millet, corn,
sorghum, buckwheat, soybeans, and potatoes. Fruits and vegetables
included pears, grapes, mandarin oranges, apples, peaches, Welsh
onions, Chinese cabbage, red peppers, persimmons, cabbage,
peaches, and radishes. Other important cash crops included
cotton, hemp, sesame, tobacco, and ginseng. In 1988, livestock
heads included native Korean cattle (2 million), hogs (4.9
million), and poultry (almost 59 million).
Data as of June 1990