TOKYO, Aug. 10 – Production of wagyu beef totaled 161,000 tons in 2020, up 9,000 tons, or 6 percent, from a year before, according to a survey by the agriculture ministry.
The volume of production increased for four years in a row since 2017 and the ministry attributes the rise to the livestock producers clustering program that helped empower farmers’ businesses.
In 2018, the ministry set a target of doubling the annual wagyu production from some 150,000 tons at the time to 300,000 tons in 2035 and has been taking measures to achieve the goal.
Due to the decline in the number of breeding cows following the 2010 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Miyazaki Prefecture, the wagyu production volume had been decreasing for four years in a row until 2016.
Meanwhile, the government, which reached a basic agreement with other member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework in 2015, boosted support for livestock farmers to strengthen their international competitiveness.
The main pillar of the support measures is a program to financially assist farmers who are serving as leaders of their communities by subsidizing purchases of new equipment.
The ministry has been securing around 40 billion yen to 60 billion yen in supplementary budget every year since fiscal 2015 for the program.
Since last year, the ministry has also been offering incentive payments to wagyu farmers who increased the number of breeding cows. The number of breeding cows added using the incentives totaled 25,774 nationwide last year.