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EXCLUSIVE: Japan’s 2020 farm, food exports hit record despite pandemic

  • February 2, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 6:37 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Feb. 2 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s exports of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products, and food hit a record high in 2020 despite the spread of the novel coronavirus across the globe, Jiji Press learned Tuesday.

 

Such exports totaled 922.3 billion yen last year, up 1.1 pct from 2019 and marking a record high for the eighth straight year, informed sources said.

 

Although exports of “wagyu” beef and other products with strong demand from the restaurant industry plunged, those of eggs and rice grew on the back of the global trend to stay home amid the pandemic, according to the sources.

 

The government is expected to announce official data soon.

 

Exports of agricultural goods rose 11.7 pct to 656.5 billion yen as a boom in Hong Kong of “tamagokakegohan,” or raw eggs on rice, a popular way of eating eggs in Japan, fueled demand for eggs for consumption at home. Exports of sake and seasoning, such as dressing, also gained, the sources said.

 

Exports of beef, which struggled in the first half of the year, rebounded in the second half thanks to brisk demand for products aimed at households, such as sliced meat. However, total beef exports last year slightly fell short of the level in 2019.

 

Exports of forestry goods inched up to 38.1 billion yen.

 

On the other hand, exports of fisheries goods sank 20.7 pct to 227.7 billion yen, with a plunge in demand for dining out leading to difficult business for scallops, one of Japan’s mainstay products for export from the industry, the sources said. Pearls also fared poorly as the coronavirus pandemic prevented face-to-face sales meetings from being held in Hong Kong. Many of pearl sales talks take place there.

 

By the end of March, the government is set to designate regions where goods for exports will be mass-produced stably.

 

It also plans to boost production of beef, yellowtail and strawberries, aiming to raise the country’s annual exports of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products, and food to 2 trillion yen in 2025 and 5 trillion yen in 2030.

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