President Yoon Suk-yeol said Thursday that an opposition-led bill mandating government purchases of excess rice is unhelpful to farmers, suggesting he would veto the bill if it passes through the National Assembly.
The main opposition Democratic Party railroaded a revision to the Grain Management Act through a standing parliamentary committee Wednesday, making it mandatory for the government to purchase rice when supply is at least 3 percent in excess of demand.
Yoon told reporters as he arrived for work that the government purchased a record high volume of rice this year to try to protect farmers from a plunge in the price of rice.
"But only when it's left to the discretion of the government can we gradually close the gap between demand and supply and prevent wasting our finances and farm products," he said.
"If the purchase is mandated by law, the gap will gradually grow and the excess supply will eventually have to be dumped, leading to a serious waste in agricultural finances," he added.
Yoon asked the National Assembly to discuss the issue in more depth, saying, "With that money, we should invest in developing farming villages, and I don't believe this is very helpful to farmers." (Yonhap)