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South Korea Organic Market

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On October 31st, Canada and South Korea forged the Canada – South Korea Organic Equivalency Arrangement (CSKOEA), an agreement allowing certified processed organic products to cross borders. Delving into the specifics of the accord and examining the Canadian organic exports, particularly in grains, oilseeds, and lentils, our analysis uncovers the emerging trends shaping Canada's presence in South Korea's organic market.

The Agreement

Recently, Canada entered into the Canada – South Korea Organic Equivalency Arrangement (CSKOEA), an agreement allowing certified processed organic products in South Korea or Canada to be sold as organic in either country.

Key Points to Note:

  • The agreement exclusively pertains to processed food, defined by the Korean Food Code, encompassing minimal processes such as cutting, grinding, and adding food additives.

  • Ingredients sourced from Canada and other imported organic sources can be utilized in products processed, packaged, and labeled in Canada.

  • Importantly, the CSKOEA is distinctive in explicitly specifying that imported Canadian organic products may undergo residue testing, including scrutiny for prohibited substances under CAN/CGSB 32.310, covering pesticides, irradiation, and genetically modified organisms.

The South Korean Organic Market

South Korea ranks as the 17th largest organic market globally, with a market size of $359.7 million USD in 2022 and an estimated annual growth rate of 3.8%from 2022 to 2026.

Organic products in South Korea represent roughly 0.6% of global demand and approximately 5.3% of the market in the Asia Pacific region (source: Global Organic Trade Guide). Our research shows a potential continued growth of the organic food market in South Korea, driven by health and environmental considerations, and government support. In recent years, the organic market has diversified, with plant-based products and alternative proteins becoming increasingly popular with consumers.

In 2023 (Jan-October) we exported for $14.42 million in South Korea,  making this market our 6th largest organic export market behind the United States, Germany, Japan, China and France. This is an estimate based on the limited number of organic Harmonized Codes our country tracks.

Organic Grains, Oilseeds, and Lentils Export to South Korea

Although the CSKOEA does not cover unprocessed grains, oilseed  and lentils, export remains a possibility if you are getting certified under the Organic South Korean standards for unprocessed products. 

In 2023, our export of organic grains, oilseeds, and lentils represented 80% of the total organic export in this country. This sub-market was valued at $5.30 million in 2022, witnessing a doubling in 2023(January to October) to $11.55 million.

Not surprisingly, in 2023 soybean will be our largest export in value ($4.5 millions), but it is oats that has the largest volume of export so far this year (6,935.7 metric tonne). 


Over the past three years, organic soybean exports to South Korea predominantly originated from Ontario and Quebec. In 2023, Ontario singularly contributed to organic soybean exports, constituting 8% of the total Canadian organic soybean export value ($58.94 million). Previous years saw occasional smaller exports from Saskatchewan ($21,000 in 2019) and PEI ($91,000 in 2020).


Globally, the Canadian organic oat export market remained relatively stable at around $22 million over the last two years. Notably, the value of organic oat exports to South Korea surged in the past year, representing 16% of the total organic oat exports and making South Korea the second-largest destination after the United States (holding 72% of the global export market).

From January to October 2023, oat exports to South Korea increased sixfold compared to 2022, reaching 6,940 MT. However, this figure is a far cry from the 2018 exports when we shipped 13,000 MT, more than double the amount exported in 2023 (January-October).

Durum wheat 

The export of durum wheat to South Korea is on the rise, growing from 5.7% of the total Canadian organic durum wheat exports in 2021 to 10% in 2023. Saskatchewan leads this export category.


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