Japan needs to improve self-sufficiency rate: farm minister

TOKYO, Aug. 11 ― Japan’s Agriculture Minister Ken Saito has stressed the government will double its efforts to help farmers enable to keep growing products that people want to eat in order to improve the country’s food self-sufficiency.

The calorie-based rate of self-sufficiency remained flat at 37.78 percent in 2017, according to the ministry. That was the second lowest level, despite a recover of harvest after heavy rains in northern Japan.

“The biggest problem is Japanese are increasingly moving away from rice,” Saito said at a Aug. 10 press conference, attributing the low self-sufficiency rate to declining consumption of the country’s staple food.

“We need to create an environment which allows farmers to enable to grow products that people want to eat,” he added.

The food self-sufficiency rate shows how much a country can satisfy its food needs from its food needs from its own domestic production. Japan’s calorie-based rate of food self-sufficiency had remained flat at 39 percent for the last six years.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe targets to achieve 45 percent self-sufficiency by 2025.

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