Japan at turning point to strengthen food security: White Paper on Agriculture

TOKYO, May 27 – The Japanese government approved an Annual Report on Food, Agriculture, and Rural Areas in Japan for the fiscal year 2022 (White Paper on Agriculture 2022) at its cabinet meeting on May 26. The report focused on the country’s food security, showing the study on the nation’s reliance on imported wheat and fertilizers and their price hike. “Japan is at a turning point to ensure stable food supply in the future,” it said, stressing the importance of expanding domestic production and rising product prices to properly cover the hike in production cost.

According to the report, the prices of food, fertilizer, feed, and other materials have jumped due to Russia’s war on Ukraine and the yen depreciation. “That has significant impacts on the agriculture management and people’s lives in Japan,” it emphasized. It also pointed out that only around 10% of farmers raised their products’ prices to cover the production cost increase.

Under such circumstances, the paper showcased the “Egarim Law” in France, which legally encourages farmers to consider the hike in production costs when pricing their products. The report says it’s essential to obtain consumer consent to create an environment where farmers can continue their business.

According to the report, farmers are changing rice paddy into vegetable fields to strengthen Japan’s food security. The White Paper calls for boosting domestic production of farm products highly dependent on oversea producers, such as wheat and soybeans.

It also reported the fact that 70% of core farmers in Japan are aged 65 or older. “Japan faces challenges, such as a declining and aging population of farmers.” To sustainably develop regional agriculture, it said, “Japan needs to increase the number of young new farmers who join from inside and outside the industry.”

It also showed Japan’s export of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products and food exceeded 1 trillion yen to hit a new record. Increasing exports is “essential for maintaining and expanding the domestic production base,” it concluded.

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