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Rice paddy reduction system ends in 2018

Competitive push to halt 'gentan' practice, halve subsidies in 2014

JIJI

The government said Tuesday it will terminate the decades-old “gentan” rice production adjustment system as early as fiscal 2018.

The decision was reached at a meeting of the government’s team, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to promote agriculture, forestry and fisheries and revitalize regional communities.

“It is necessary to turn agriculture into a growth industry” to help farmers and their communities increase their income, Abe told the meeting, underscoring his resolve to promote agricultural system reforms.

The government will submit legislation to scrap the gentan system to the next ordinary session of the Diet, starting early in 2014.

Under the gentan system, launched more than 40 years ago, the central government sets production targets for each prefecture to shore up the prices of the staple, whose supply has exceeded demand for a long time.

After the abolition of the gentan system, the government will take steps to prevent a possible rice price tumble.

Other agricultural reform measures agreed upon Tuesday included an eventual removal of government subsidies for farmers joining the gentan system.

The subsidy will be cut to ¥7,500 per 1,000 sq. meters of rice paddies from the current ¥15,000, starting in fiscal 2014, which begins next April, and scrapped in fiscal 2018.