The agriculture ministry on Friday began an initiative to label rice and vegetables that contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and preserve biodiversity during their production.

The labels will be prominently featured on product packaging and posters, serving as a visual cue for environmental efforts and aiming to enhance consumer awareness toward fostering a sustainable food system.

This initiative encompasses 23 targeted products, including rice, tomatoes and cucumbers. Producers determine their "contribution rate" to greenhouse gas reductions based on the amount of pesticide, fertilizer and fuel that they use on a daily basis.

The label denotes a grade from 1 to 3, represented by stars, reflecting the magnitude of reduction achieved. Higher reduction efforts are granted a greater number of stars.

In the case of rice, if the product demonstrates a commitment to conserving paddy biodiversity, this distinction can be added to the label. Additionally, processed foods derived from the labeled farm produce may also bear the label.

"We aim to convey producers' endeavors in minimizing environmental impact, thereby empowering consumers to make informed choices,” agriculture minister Tetsushi Sakamoto said.