• Kyodo News

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The Democratic Party of Japan plans to expand the range of farmers entitled to a new agricultural subsidy program to growers of crops other than rice in fiscal 2011, DPJ officials said.

Wheat, soybean, beets and buckwheat are among the crops mentioned in recommendations the ruling party’s agriculture policy task force has drafted for an expanded subsidy program to take effect next April. The subsidies covered rice growers this year.

Some members of the task force have been demanding the inclusion of more crops in the program, which is aimed at achieving healthy farm management and raising self-sufficiency in food production by providing growers with direct subsidies.

Agriculture minister Masahiko Yamada has expressed his intention to extend the program to part of the fisheries industry starting in fiscal 2011.

As part of government support for farmers, DPJ agricultural policymakers have also proposed that compensation be provided, if necessary, depending on the differences between production costs and selling prices.

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