The area of arable land of the Republic of Korea (RoK) dropped to 1.62 million hectares at the end of 2017, a decline of 1.4 percent year-on-year (Photo: Yonhap)

Seoul (VNA) – The size of arable land of the Republic of Korea (RoK) came to 1.62 million hectares at the end of 2017, a decline of 1.4 percent year-on-year, according to the data released by Statistic Korea on February 26.

The decrease occurred as some rice paddies and fields were converted into residential land or public facilities.

The total rice paddy area dropped 3.4 percent on-year to 865,000 hectares amid a chronic over-supply of rice and dwindling rice consumption in the RoK. Meanwhile, the amount of dry fields, including orchards, rose 1.1 percent to 756,000ha.

For decades, rice consumption in the RoK has been declining steadily due mainly to changes in diet and eating habits.

Per capita rice consumption in the country hit a fresh record low last year at 61.8 kilograms, down 0.2 percent from 61.9 kg in 2016, according to government data. - VNA