The nation’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports hit a record high in 2017 for the fifth straight year, led by robust growth in shipments of beef and green tea, a source said Wednesday, adding that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will announce the data soon.
But the level totaling ¥807.3 billion ($7.4 billion) is still far from the ¥1 trillion target Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has set to achieve by 2019 as it seeks to bolster the country’s farm sector.
The exports of agriculture, forestry and fisheries products represent an increase of 7.6 percent from the previous year on the back of a rise in the number of health-conscious consumers and the popularity of “washoku,” or Japanese food, overseas, the source said.
By country and region, Hong Kong remained the largest importer of Japanese farm produce at ¥187.7 billion, followed by the United States at ¥111.5 billion. China came third with over ¥100 billion, one notch up from the previous year, while Taiwan retreated to fourth place from third.
Of the total, exports of agricultural products, including processed foods, climbed 8.1 percent to ¥496.8 billion and fisheries products gained 4.2 percent to ¥275 billion. Forestry products were up 32.3 percent to ¥35.5 billion, partly helped by exports of timber to China.
By products, Japanese beef jumped 41.4 percent to ¥19.16 billion as Taiwan lifted its import ban last September that was introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Green tea saw a 24.3 percent rise to ¥14.36 billion due to strong sales of high-priced products, while exports of strawberries soared 56.6 percent to ¥1.8 billion.