National

Japan's agriculture ministry to keep food self-sufficiency target at 45%

JIJI

The agriculture ministry revealed Tuesday that it would maintain its goal of increasing the country’s calorie-based food self-sufficiency rate to 45 percent by fiscal 2030, unchanged from the current target for years through fiscal 2025.

In fiscal 2018, which ended in March 2019, the food self-sufficiency rate fell to a record low of 37 percent as diversified diets led to a fall in domestic consumption of rice — which had been supporting the country’s food self-sufficiency rate. The figure was seen as far behind the current target of raising the rate to 45 percent by fiscal 2025.

The target is included in a draft basic program for agricultural policy over the next 10 years.

The ministry plans to increase the value of the nation’s food exports, including agricultural and fishery products, to ¥5 trillion by calendar 2030 — over five times the 2019 level — to help raise the country’s slumping food self-sufficiency rate.

The rate shows how much domestic consumption is met by domestic production. It is necessary for a country to improve the rate to deal with contingencies such as poor harvests and suspensions of food imports. Increasing exports can contribute to an improvement in the self-sufficiency rate, as it expands domestic production.

The ministry reviews the 10-year policy every five years.

The new draft basic plan also includes a policy to encourage more into farming, including small-scale farming, to strengthen the country’s production bases.

The ministry plans to promote exports through measures such as helping cattle farmers increase their production of wagyu beef, which is popular as a luxury item around the world.

In its policy, the ministry also set a goal of increasing the country’s self-sufficiency rate based on output value by 9 percentage points from fiscal 2018 to reach 75 percent by fiscal 2030.

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