South Korea runs low on kimchi, implements kimchi bailout program

In the wake of extreme weather conditions, South Korea has been hit with a shortage of kimchi causing prices to skyrocket.

Jeremy Na

Just like that Khalid song, Young, dumb and broke. Ok maybe not dumb but definitely the other two.

Published: 13 November 2020, 4:57 PM

When you think about South Korea, one of the first things that come to mind has to be kimchi. The fermented cabbage dish has been a quintessential part of Korean culture and you would have a hard time finding a Korean restaurant that doesn’t serve it.

So it may come as a surprise to learn that South Korea is actually running low on kimchi. 

Due to extreme weather conditions such as multiple typhoons and an abnormally long period of rain, massive amounts of cabbage crops in South Korea have been severely damaged.


Kimchi is a staple in South Korean cuisine and served with almost every meal. PHOTO CREDIT: PORTUGUESE GRAVITY VIA UNSPLASH


Naturally, this caused prices to balloon to up to four times its usual price, resulting in a shortage for both businesses and consumers.

This massive cabbage shortage comes in the face of South Korea’s annual kimchi-making season, Kimjang. During Kimjang, Koreans would normally stockpile the large amounts of cabbage from the autumn harvest to make sure they have enough to last them through the winter.


Kimjang usually takes place in late autumn and the kimchi making process is often a time for families to bond. PHOTO CREDIT: MIKE SWIGUNSKI VIA UNSPLASH


In an attempt to mitigate the effects of this shortage, the South Korean government has introduced a kimchi bailout program that will cover 30 per cent of costs for about 300,000 cabbages, while also cutting tariffs on cabbage imports from China.

Apart from household consumers of kimchi – basically every person in South Korea – big corporations have been hit hard as well. 

Daesang Corp, South Korea’s top kimchi producer, has even temporarily suspended online sales because of the cabbage shortage. 

Thankfully, the crisis may soon pass as more favourable weather conditions have set in recently resulting in a stabilization of cabbage prices. The agricultural ministry has also stated that by next month, purchases of cabbage and kimchi production should stabilize.

So if you’re craving some Korean army stew or kimchi fried rice, you may have to wait just a little longer.

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