Japan sets ambitious goal to quadruple rice exports by 2019

TOKYO, Sept. 8 — The agriculture ministry has set up an ambitious goal to quadruple Japanese rice exports in two years, at a time when the Japanese consumption of the staple food has continued sliding.

Agriculture Minister Ken Saito announced Japan aims to increase annual rice exports to 100,000 metric tons by 2019. “The objective is to shore up rice farmers’ incomes,” he said at a press conference on Sept. 8.

Last year Japan exported a total of 24,000 tons of rice; 10,000 tons of rice as a staple food and 14,000 tons of rice for processed products such as rice crackers and sake.

The ministry is now encouraging Japanese rice growers, who have set their sights to overseas in a bid to find alternatives to the domestic market, to submit their plans on export volumes and cost-cutting efforts.

The ministry will then select strategic rice growers and distributors, as well as foreign markets it will focus on, by the end of October.

It plans to matchmake growers with distributors to boost rice exports through food exhibitions and promotional events around the globe.

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