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Gov’t aims to change agriculture into a profitable industry

  • 2015-03-18 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: March 18, 2015 – p. 6)


 The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) on March 17 put together a basic plan on food, agriculture, and farming villages to chart a course for the country’s basic agricultural policy over the next 10 years.


 The plan calls for transforming Japan’s agricultural industry into a profitable business. It lowers Japan’s food self-sufficiency target on a caloric basis for the first time but raises the output-based target, with an eye on achieving this by fiscal 2025.


 MAFF also introduces an index to measure Japan’s self-sufficiency in terms of food production in the plan for the first time. The aim is to secure farmland and famers sufficient for minimum food production in case the country becomes unable to import food products and to make Japan’s agriculture more resilient.


 The new target of caloric-based, self-sufficiency will be reduced to 45% from the current 50%. The actual rate, however, has hovered at 39% for the fourth consecutive year through fiscal 2013, far behind the target. As a higher target requires strong support measures for agriculture, the Ministry of Finance has been complaining that reckless subsidies to support domestic production will not help improve the self-sufficiency rate. MAFF has revised the target to be more in touch with reality in an effort to emphasize its departure from the agricultural policy of providing pork-barrel subsidies.


 The output-based self-sufficiency target will be raised to 73% from the current 70%. (Abridged)

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