ASIAN SEED • 14 Heaps Hauled in Hanguk US$362mn worth of sowing seed traded to/from South Korea in 20 months NO LESS THAN 251,638 TONNES of sowing seed moved across South Korean borders during a recent five-quarter, or 20-month period. Combined, these import and export consignments were valued at US$362.2 million. That equates to an average of 12,582 tonnes of seed traded per month, or 150,983 t /year, making the Korean sowing seed market worth no less than US$217 mn/year. A few things are clear from the data analyzed: Korea remains heavily dependent on its trading partners for most categories of sowing seed, with few exceptions; likewise, foreign seed suppliers across the globe continue to depend on the Korean market. Indeed, during the 20 months analyzed, Korea had a 159.21-million-dollar sowing seed trade deficit, calculated from $101.53 mn in exports against $260.74 mn in imports. Exports accounted for 2,951.66 t of seed, while imports mounted to a staggering, 248,687.242 tonnes. The average value of imported seed was $1,048 / t, while exported seed averaged $34 398/t. OUTBOUND An overwhelming majority of the revenue from Korean sowing seed exports during the focus period derived from vegetable seed; even though this type of seed (see Veg section below for detailed country analysis) made up only 38.5% (1,138.6 t) of the total volume of outbound consignments, it generated an impressive $99.26mn, or just under 98% of the total value of exports. Even so, the country had a significant trade deficit for vegetable seeds – 4,580 tonnes at $38.2 million, equal to 229 tonnes, and $1.9 million deficit per month. Deficits (more imports than exports) were common across nearly all categories of seed analyzed. Husked paddy and seed potato were among the few categories that yielded an export surplus for Korea, in terms of both volume and value.Though seed potato made up more than half (1,499.69 t or 51%) of Korean seed exports, the revenue for this type of seed was negligible, with outbound consignments worth about $770,000, just over three-quarters of a percent of the export market. Likewise, a nearly-100-tonne surplus of husked paddy (3% of volume) yielded a meager $170,000 surplus for the Korean economy. Most types of Korean field crop seed were exported at values well below the mean of $34 398/t; namely, Korean maize traded at an average tonnage rate of $15,779; paddy $1,705; millet $1,420; oats $2,747 and seed potato $513. Vegetable sowing seed varieties in contrast were exported well above the mean, at $87,177/t. Melon seed remains a lucrative category for Korean seed traders. Notably, this category of seed was exported at an average rate of $3,500/kg, which would equate to $3.5 mn/t. The total volume of this type of seed export, however, was only 177 kg.These seeds, worth a total of $621,000, were imported by Japan (84 kg worth $585,000); Algeria (41 kg worth $12,000) and Spain (45 kg worth $13,000). INBOUND A majority of the 248,687 tonnes of sowing seed imported into Korea during the focus period were forage seeds, representing 93% (238,815 tonnes) of inbound volume, but only 38% ($99.3 million) of the total import market value. These forage seeds mostly came from Australia (214,410 t worth $63.7 mn or $297/t); as well as the USA (9,779 t worth $23.2mn, $2,375/t). Other suppliers of forage seed to Korea were China (799 t @ $3,344/t); South Africa (191 t @ $4,549/t); India (125 t @ $2,565/t); Denmark (14 t @ South Korea, which is referred to by South Koreans as 'Hanguk', depends on seed imports to supplement locally-grown crop seed.