Launch of the “Pregnant Women Food Scheme” in South Korea

The Pregnant Women Food Scheme started from January 1st, 2020 with the aim of providing environmentally-friendly food to 45,000 pregnant women and new mothers. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number has been extended to 80,000.


In 2019, the South Korean organic movement in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. This was for the provision of environmentally-friendly food[1] to pregnant women and new mothers in Seoul, Gyeonggi and Jeonnam Province, and twenty-three other local governments throughout South Korea.

The proposal called for the delivery of a box of local environmentally-friendly food to pregnant women and new mothers, twice a month. The aim was to target forty-thousand women in 2020 with the purpose of safeguarding the health of pregnant women and new mothers, and newly-born babies. The other purpose was to expand the sales of environmentally-friendly food and uphold the values of ecological services and organic farming. The scheme is implemented using direct e-commerce, thereby linking women to local farmers.

The proposal was submitted as part of the “citizen participation budget” scheme through which the public could submit proposals for new projects. The public voted and the more popular proposals got budget allocation from the central and local governments and were implemented. The Pregnant Women Food scheme was one of the winning proposals and thus became reality.

How it is implemented!

Women place orders online on specific websites set up by the local government authorities by doing one of the following: 

1. Place an order for individual items of food

2. Place orders for a box of food (no individual selection)

3. Choose a food package that automatically delivers food from 3 months to 12 months (no further selection needed throughout the year)

The women can order food up to 480,000 Korean won (360 euros) annually of which  20% is self- financed while the rest is covered by the central and local governments.

This initiative has received a very favorable response from the Korean public especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and is a good example of the government taking a pro-active approach to help the local farmers and provide safe, and nutritious local food to its people.

Source: Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs

[1] The “Environmentally-Friendly Promotion Law” of South Korea, “environmentally-friendly food includes both organic and pesticide-free food.