Regarding the June 27 article ” ‘Veggie factories’ find fertile ground”: I would like to add the perspective of a farmer from the lettuce-producing village in Nagano Prefecture mentioned in the article — Kawakami — which by the way was misspelled in the article. I first heard of “veggie factories” more than a decade ago. I saw a photo of “factory-made lettuce” and almost felt pity for the frail, spineless pale green leaves. They would never see the sun before being cropped and put directly into plastic bags and shipped. They were totally different things from our sunbathed, broad-leaved lettuce.
The reason why these “factories” have not prevailed, as mentioned in the article, has been the high cost of maintaining the system (which includes fluorescent lamps), rather than consumer preference. There are many busy working housewives who will buy “ready-washed lettuce” despite their consciousness of the merits of eating natural products.
I feel frustrated at the agriculture ministry’s approach to securing a “stable food supply.” Bureaucrats know that there often are times when supply exceeds demand to the extent that farmers have to throw away veggies in the field instead of harvesting them. Doesn’t the ministry realize that by creating its so-called stable food supply it creates price erosion as well?
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