At a public meeting comprising policy makers from the finance and agricultural ministries of South Korea, individuals from both sides agreed last week that the direct sales of food and agricultural products online could help control inflation.
The attendees recommended new incentives for online retail and auction services to sell food and agricultural products on their sites. It was noted that sale of such products should be made easier across the country’s online market.
“Household debt isspiralling and policy makers are looking for new ways to curb inflation,” a finance ministry spokesperson told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“It was suggested that electronic commerce would have a bigger role in the distribution of packages foods, fruits and vegetables as a counter to inflation,” he added.
Prices of food items have been rising steadily, exasperated by oil value surges and price volatility of agricultural products as well as other input costs, he explained.
“E-commerce would allow more farmers to eliminate the middlemen and provide their products to consumers more cheaply,” he said.
The spokesperson pointed out that the country’s food prices are set to peak again, and must be tamed before it starts to damage consumption significantly.
“More than 29.1tn won (about US$25.6bn) worth of products was traded through ecommerce last year, but agri and food products accounted for just 2.8% of this figure. So there obviously is room for growth,’’ he said.