Due to the prolonged rainy season, Japan’s rice crop this year will be the poorest since 1993, when unseasonably cool weather adversely affected the harvest, the Rice Databank said Wednesday.
The private think tank, which monitors rice growing and movements in the rice market, gave an index of 94 for the average rice crop nationwide against 100 for a normal year.
An index of 106 or over signifies a “good” crop, between 102-105 indicates “rather good,” while between 99 and 101 is “average.”
A 95-98 reading denotes “rather poor,” 91-94 “poor,” and 90 or below “very poor.”
The Rice Databank said rice growth has been adversely affected by the long rainy season, attendant shortage of sunshine and low temperatures.
Crops would be particularly poor in certain parts of the Tohoku region in northeast Japan, it said.
It forecast this year’s rice crop to be around 8.23 million tons, down 645,000 tons from the previous year.
The forecast is based on an analysis of weather and rice growth data across Japan at the end of July.
Toshiharu Nishiguchi, president of Rice Databank, said the supply situation, including stocks of rice harvested in previous years, will not be as severe as in 1993, when the nation was forced to resort to emergency rice imports to meet demand.
However, the retail price of some popular varieties, such as Koshihikari from Niigata Prefecture, may be up to 20 percent higher than usual, he said.
The Meteorological Agency said Saturday that the rainy season finally appeared to have ended for much of Japan, except in northern Tohoku.