TOKYO, Aug. 17 – Shipments of locally grown vegetables used for processed products and by restaurants are increasing in recent years, reaching 1.06 million tons in 2019, up 72,000 tons, or 7 percent, from the previous year, according to the agriculture ministry.
The figure – the total for shipments of 14 varieties including cabbages, onions, carrots, green peppers and Chinese cabbages – is up 187,000 tons, or 21 percent, from 2014.
The agriculture ministry has been taking measures to boost the shipments, with a target of expanding the annual total to 1.45 million tons by 2030.
Demands of vegetables for processing and for restaurants have been rising, occupying 60 percent of total demand in 2015, as more people buy prepared foods or go out to eat reflecting the increase of single households and working couples.
But much of the vegetables for processing and restaurants have been imported, as they need to be supplied steadily throughout the year.
Since fiscal 2013, the farm ministry has been supporting vegetable growers who shift their business from supplying consumers to supplying processing firms and restaurants, by financially assisting procurement of agricultural equipment such as pest control materials.
The ministry allocated 1.059 billion yen for the program in the fiscal 2021 budget.
It also offers subsidies to agricultural cooperatives for purchasing vegetable cutting machines and setting up facilities to keep products in refrigerators and freezers.