JA group Hokkaido aims to boost local rice exports to China

TOKYO, Sept. 30 ― Japanese farmers’ group in northern Japan is set to ship locally-grown rice to China in early October, after a rice mill and two fumigation warehouses in Hokkaido received the Chinese government’s approval.

Beijing requires that imported rice be milled and fumigated at facilities certified by the Chinese government.

Previously, Japan had only one rice mill in Kanagawa prefecture, near Tokyo, and two fumigation warehouses, approved by China.

But it has changed since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made a visit to Japan in May and agreed to authorize two new mills and five more fumigation warehouses for exports to China, a key step to access more Japanese rice in the world’s largest rice market.

One mill and two of fumigation warehouses, which have been certified recently by the Chinese government, are located in Hokkaido prefecture.

This is considered a breakthrough for the agricultural cooperatives in Hokkaido, also known as Hokuren, because it allows local rice growers to cut costs and give greater access to the Chinese market that is hungry for high-quality imports.

Hokuren has also been in talks with a Japanese subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to sell its locally-grown rice through online shopping market.

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