Category Archives: Food & Agriculture

Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate marks 38 percent in fiscal 2019, far from its target of 45 percent

TOKYO, Aug. 6 – Japan’s calorie-based food self-sufficiency rate was 38 percent in fiscal 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced on Aug. 5. The ratio was up 1 percentage point from the record low of 37 percent in fiscal 2018, rising for the first time in 11 years since fiscal 2008 thanks to improved wheat yields. The rate of increase was small, however, reflecting a decline in rice consumption, and meeting the government target of increasing the rate to 45 percent by fiscal 2030 remains a challenge. The food self-sufficiency rate is an indicator to show how much a nation can cover the food it consumes with … Continue reading

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Farm ministry asks households not to open suspicious packages of seeds sent from abroad

TOKYO, Aug. 4 – The Plant Protection Station of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been alerting the public on suspicious packages of seeds sent from abroad, saying it has been receiving inquiries from people across the nation who said such packages were delivered to them although they have not made any orders. “If you receive seeds unexpectedly, you must not open the packages nor plant the seeds on fields, gardens or planters. Please consult authorities,” said an official of the plant quarantine station. According to the agriculture ministry, a number of cases were reported nationwide since June in which small plastic bags containing dozens of seeds are … Continue reading

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Japan’s meat imports post record high in the first half of 2020 backed by increase in home consumption

TOKYO, Jul. 31 – Japan’s imports of meat products amounted to 1.04 million tons in the period between January and June this year, a record high since data became available in 1988, according to trade statistics released on July 30. Shipments increased especially from countries with which Japan signed a major trade agreement. Low-priced imported meat products are expanding their share in the market for processed meat and ingredients for frozen food, as the new coronavirus outbreak has prompted consumers to increase purchases of meat products to eat at home. The total shipments of beef, pork and chicken from abroad, excluding prepared meat products, reached 1,040,591 tons in the first … Continue reading

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Japanese scientists use soap bubbles to pollinate fruit trees May use drones as bubble sprayers in future

ISHIKAWA, Jul. 19 – Soap bubbles may be an effective replacement for bees in the future. A group of researchers of the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) has recently succeeded in pollinating fruit flowers by spraying soap bubbles containing pollen. They’re now trying to see if a drone equipped with a bubble sprayer can autonomously move around a fruit orchard and pollinate flowers. The decline in the number of honeybees and other pollinators is a common problem among the world’s fruit growers. The farmers can pollinate their trees by hand using feather brushes, but the time and labor required for the job are growing as the farmers … Continue reading

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Can “real straws” help reduce plastic waste?

FUKUI, May 31 – Straws made of barley stalks are attracting attention as a new option for eco-friendly consumers. Fukui Oomugi Club, a Fukui-based barley tea and food producer started selling them last year. It uses stalks provided by local barley growers to make the very natural straw, which is unique to Fukui Prefecture, which is Japan’s largest producer of six-row barley, or Rokujo oomugi in Japanese. Making straws out of agricultural byproducts can also help reduce plastic waste. The stalks of “Fiber-snow” six-row barley are provided by the members of a local agricultural cooperative corporation named Ten. They are dried in the sun, cut in 18 to 20 centimeters … Continue reading

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