A government panel came up with a 10-year plan Wednesday on basic agriculture policy that focuses on paying subsidies to productive farmers and raising the food self-sufficiency rate to 45 percent by fiscal 2015.

The Council of Food, Agriculture and Rural Area Policies submitted the plan to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshinobu Shimamura prior to approval by the Cabinet later this month.

The plan is aimed at reforming Japan’s agricultural sector, characterized by aging farmers and a decline in total farming area, and at improving farmers’ competitiveness in the face of farm trade liberalization under the World Trade Organization.

It calls for shifting from agricultural subsidies designed to maintain prices to those that help large farming operations generate more income.

In the face of resistance by some agricultural groups fearful of the impact this could have on small farming operations, the panel has left specific details for future consideration.

The plan seeks to raise the nation’s food self-sufficiency rate from the present 40 percent to 45 percent by fiscal 2015 on a calorie basis, which is five years behind the schedule of the existing plan.

On a value basis, which puts more emphasis on low-calorie vegetables and fruits, it calls for the rate to be boosted to 76 percent from the present 70 percent.

The plan also says the value of Japan’s exports of farm, forestry and fishery products should be doubled by 2009.

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