Korea produced only 2.73~3.39 million tons of rice during the 10 years after 1960. However, more than about 4.32 million tons was produced yearly since 1974 when the new Tongil type rice varieties were planted in more than 15% of the total paddy land and, just three years later, when the new varieties had been expanded to 660 thousand hectares. The national average of milled rice yield in the farmer’s field dramatically increased to 4.93 MT/ha in 1977 as compared with japonica varieties yielding 3.37~4.69 MT/ha of milled rice. Total rice production reached 4.67 million MT in 1976 which was the first self-sufficiency of rice in Korea, and 6.01 million MT in 1978 which was the first time to exceed 5 million MT of rice production in the history, resulting in a significant achievement for green revolution in Korea.
[National Rice Production in Korea (1946-1970)]
Source: Modern history of Korea agriculture vol.2 (RDA, 2008)
Recalculated: translate “seok” to ton(1 seok = 144kg)
The green revolution was able to achieve not only rice self-sufficiency in Korea but increased farm household income as well. Before 1973, the farm household income was lower than that of the urban worker's household but after achieving production of 30 million seoks of rice in 1974, the farmer surpassed the urban laborer due to the high contribution of the rapidly expanded area of the new rice varieties.
In line with the increase of rice production by means of expanded cultivation of newly developed varieties, the volume of governmental purchases of rice has continuously expanded to a level capable of a steady growth of farmers' earnings along with stimulation of farmers' incentive for increased production.
Rice self-sufficiency has played a great role not only in stabilizing food supplies in Korea but also saving foreign exchange in and contributing to economic growth and strengthening national power enabling confident and active implementation of national policies and creating hope for the future.
The increase of farm household income due to the expanded cultivation of the new rice varieties has played the role not only of increasing farm assets, but also of raising the living quality in rural regions. The increase of farm household income allowed the farmers to lessen the debts and to make funds for re-investment to agriculture.
Increasing rice production resulted in a change in the rice consumption pattern in Korea. Previously rice saving policies prevailed : use of 70% polished rice for cooking, cooking rice mixed with other grains, and prohibition of using rice for brewing, etc. These policies have become obsolete and a rice consumption promotion program has been undertaken.
The expansion of the seed bed technologies brought a number of alternative benefits such as more production due to early transplanting and harvest, the possibility of planting barley in paddy fields after the rice harvest, reducing labor competition during the busy seasons, the careful treatment of rice plants and an expansion of the barley planted area. The earliness of the new rice varieties also enabled the vegetable cultivation in areas near the cities, which contributed greatly to farm management improvement. The group farming in rice cultivation was the momentum for the cooperative production of foundation of joint utilization of farm machinery as well as joint purchase of farm materials and joint marketing of farm products. It played a core role in rural community development by making cooperation possible in every detail of farming.