Less Japan table rice planted this year; stable price expected


TOKYO, Sept. 30 — Japan’s agriculture ministry estimates less acreage of table rice has been planted this year, even below the target, thanks to a shift in production from table rice to other crops.

The planting acreage for table rice in 2017/18 declined by 11,000 hectares from a year earlier to 1.37 million hectares, according to the latest rice outlook released by the ministry on Sept. 29.

This was below the target of 1.38 million hectares.

Total rice stocks are projected at 1.82 million metric tons at the end of June 2018, if the planting acreage for table rice this year is within the target, the ministry said.

That’s good news for rice growers hoping to ensure stable prices.

The trend comes as the government is subsidizing farmers to shift production from table rice to other crops. It is also encouraging them to increase rice production for animal feed.

Planting rice for animal feed increased by 1,000 hectares to 92,000 hectares; for processed products it rose 1,000 hectares to 52,000 hectares; rice flour increased by 1,000 hectares to 5,000 hectares.

The total Japanese rice production in 2017/18 is now projected at 7.31 million metric tons.

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