Japan’s gross agricultural production totals 9.3 trillion yen in 2017, marking three consecutive years of increase amid recovery in rice prices

TOKYO, Dec. 26 – Japan’s gross agricultural output totaled 9.2742 trillion yen in 2017, up 0.8 percent or 71.7 billion yen from the previous year, increasing three years in a row, the agriculture ministry said on Dec. 25.

The farm production marked the largest amount since 2000 in terms of value. One of the main factors behind the increase was the recovery in prices of rice for human consumption, as many rice farmers shifted to production of rice for feed.

However, decline in farm population and aging of farmers remain a problem, indicating an urgent need to strengthen the nation’s farm production.

The 2017 output topped 9 trillion yen as in 2016, but Japan’s farm production value has failed to reach the 10 trillion yen mark since 1997.

In terms of items, production of rice totaled 1.7357 trillion yen, up 4.9 percent or 80.8 billion yen from a year before. Rice production value has not topped 2 trillion yen after 2012. The farm ministry officials said the increase in rice production value is attributable to the rise in prices of rice for human consumption. Stabilizing supply-demand balance is the key to further increase in the value of rice production.

Production of fruits totaled 845 billion, up 1.4 percent or 11.7 billion yen from the previous year, thanks to strong consumption and the increase in production of high-priced fruits such as Shine Muscat grapes.

Meanwhile, production of vegetables dropped 4.1 percent or 105.9 billion yen from a year before to 2.4508 trillion yen, reflecting a decline in vegetable prices as production recovered compared with the previous year when major production regions including Hokkaido were hit hard by typhoons.

Production value of beef cattle marked a year-on-year decline for the first time in six years, amid drops in prices of carcasses mainly of crossbred cattle, while exports of wagyu beef remained strong.

Production of all livestock products except for beef cattle marked an increase, with pork production rising 6.1 percent or 37.2 billion yen from a year before to 649.4 billion yen, backed by strong household consumption. Production of raw milk rose 0.1 percent or 1.1 billion yen from the previous year to 740.2 billion yen.

The nationwide cultivated acreage for 2017 totaled 4.444 million hectares, down 0.6 percent from the previous year. Agriculture population continued to shrink, totaling 1.816 million, down 5.5 percent from a year before.

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