South Korea's agricultural ministry on Wednesday announced a set of measures to promote the country's kimchi industry, which has been facing challenges from increasing production in China.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish, normally made of fermented cabbage, salt and hot peppers and eaten with almost all meals.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said South Korea's exports of kimchi reached a record-high in January, at $9.1 million, up 30.5 percent on-year. The spike comes on the back of the popularity of Korean culture abroad, although experts say sustainable growth needs to be based on a long-term strategy.
It said plans are being formulated to bolster the quality and safety of locally produced kimchi and distinguish it from budget products made in China.
To support local kimchi companies, the ministry plans to help them cut costs by group-purchasing ingredients and adopt more efficient production procedures.
The ministry will also carry out tougher surveillance on products sold in the market to guarantee safety.
The government will, in addition, carry out research to expand the expiration date of kimchi products to 60 days from the current 30 days.
Companies that seek to develop kimchi products for export can receive subsidies of up to 50 million won ($44,380), the ministry said.
The government will support 18 percent of kimchi shipping costs, up from the current 9 percent, and roll out marketing events overseas to promote the various nutritional benefits of the dish. (Yonhap)