Japan aims to more than quadruple rice exports in 2019


Japan's agriculture ministry said Friday it is aiming to more than quadruple the country's annual rice and rice product exports to 100,000 tons in 2019, ministry officials said Friday.

On the back of falling domestic demand, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has launched a project to expand overseas sales to raise rice farmers' income.

To meet its new goal, the ministry plans to raise total exports of rice and raw materials for rice crackers and Japanese sake, among other products, from the current level of around 24,000 tons.

The export of rice consumed as a staple stood at around 10,000 tons in 2016 and has been on the rise, especially to Hong Kong and Singapore.

Domestic demand for rice has been decreasing by around 8 tons a year, necessitating the expansion of exports, according to the ministry.

"It is a high goal but we want to aggressively go after it," said agriculture minister Ken Saito.

In late October, the government plans to designate some rice growing areas and producers as part of the export initiative. It will also identify strategic target countries in which it will bolster sales promotion, it said.


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