Japan’s meat imports post record high in the first half of 2020 backed by increase in home consumption

TOKYO, Jul. 31 – Japan’s imports of meat products amounted to 1.04 million tons in the period between January and June this year, a record high since data became available in 1988, according to trade statistics released on July 30. Shipments increased especially from countries with which Japan signed a major trade agreement. Low-priced imported meat products are expanding their share in the market for processed meat and ingredients for frozen food, as the new coronavirus outbreak has prompted consumers to increase purchases of meat products to eat at home. The total shipments of beef, pork and chicken from abroad, excluding prepared meat products, reached 1,040,591 tons in the first … Continue reading

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Japanese scientists use soap bubbles to pollinate fruit trees May use drones as bubble sprayers in future

ISHIKAWA, Jul. 19 – Soap bubbles may be an effective replacement for bees in the future. A group of researchers of the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) has recently succeeded in pollinating fruit flowers by spraying soap bubbles containing pollen. They’re now trying to see if a drone equipped with a bubble sprayer can autonomously move around a fruit orchard and pollinate flowers. The decline in the number of honeybees and other pollinators is a common problem among the world’s fruit growers. The farmers can pollinate their trees by hand using feather brushes, but the time and labor required for the job are growing as the farmers … Continue reading

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Can “real straws” help reduce plastic waste?

FUKUI, May 31 – Straws made of barley stalks are attracting attention as a new option for eco-friendly consumers. Fukui Oomugi Club, a Fukui-based barley tea and food producer started selling them last year. It uses stalks provided by local barley growers to make the very natural straw, which is unique to Fukui Prefecture, which is Japan’s largest producer of six-row barley, or Rokujo oomugi in Japanese. Making straws out of agricultural byproducts can also help reduce plastic waste. The stalks of “Fiber-snow” six-row barley are provided by the members of a local agricultural cooperative corporation named Ten. They are dried in the sun, cut in 18 to 20 centimeters … Continue reading

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Agricultural experience helps reduce stress hormones, study shows

TOKYO, Jul. 11 – The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU), an apex organization of agricultural cooperatives (JAs) in Japan, and Juntendo University announced on July 10 a result of their joint study which showed that getting hands-on experience at a farm has an effect of reducing stress and increasing sense of happiness. Using the data, JA-ZENCHU hopes to further promote farms that provide agricultural experiences to attract more users. JA-ZENCHU and the university conducted the research in November 2018 with cooperation from National Farming Experience Farms, a nonprofit organization promoting farms that offer agricultural experiences, to see the effects of farming experience on people’s stress levels. They asked 40 … Continue reading

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Japanese restaurant chains starring domestic melon desserts to spur consumption

TOKYO, Jul. 14 – Several restaurant chains are introducing desserts featuring fresh melons grown in Japan. Cakes and parfaits with a lot of the fruit in season will hopefully pull in more customers and loosen up their wallets to help the foodservice industry hit hard by the new coronavirus outbreak. Sweets Paradise is a chain restaurant with an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet with stores in and the west of the Kanto east Japan area. On July 10, it started offering a limited-time dessert buffet featuring melon. The plan includes cut melon, special melon cakes, drinks, and, most importantly, one whole melon per group, which was the most popular attraction last year. … Continue reading

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