A total of 16,722 farmers across the country earned more than W100 million last year, up 14 percent from 2009, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Wednesday (US$1=W1,116).
Some 46 percent or 7,844 of the richer farmers raise livestock. Next come fruit growers (2,817), vegetable growers (2,087), rice farmers (1,663), and farmers of cash crops including ginseng, (1,145).
By region, North Gyeongsang Province, where the livestock industry flourishes, has the largest number of high-income farmers with 7,499, followed by South (2,753) and North Jeolla provinces (1,568).
According to the ministry, by traditional standards wealthy farmers referred to those who harvested over 1,800 bags of rice a year, which is equivalent to about W150 million per year in today's cash value. Some 6,837 farmers earned more than W150 million last year.
A ministry official said, "The total number of farmers is falling, but the number of high-income farmers keeps rising. This is because more of them are launching new businesses such as logistics and hands-on farming projects as side jobs."