Abolishing a nearly 50-year-old policy for rice price support, Korea adopted a new direct payment program in 2005. Making the transition to decoupled income payments has been governed by the need for operative and effective income safety nets and the WTO disciplines on domestic support. The program aims to deal with over-supply of rice while guarding against the threat of income insecurity. Integrated into a target price mechanism, the fixed and variable payments compensate part of farm income loss arising from adverse market conditions. Besides, the government launched a public stockholding measure to ensure food security. A review of previous studies highlights the fixed payment has no or at most minimal effects on production while the variable payment carries a fairly large effect on production. The share of direct payments in agricultural budget accounts for only 8 percent in 2004 and thus the Korean government envisions greater use of decoupled income support.


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