An increasing number of Japanese farmers are switching to wheat instead of rice. Photo: REUTERS
national

High grain prices prompt Japanese farmers to grow wheat rather than rice

52 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

52 Comments
Login to comment

Man cannot live by bread alone

-21 ( +6 / -27 )

The government has promoted crop conversions by providing farmers with subsidies. Again with subsidies? So tax payers pay again for what I assume is going to be inflated market prices? Don’t they have warehouses full of unsold rice anyway. It makes sense for a farmer to grow a sellable product. Do tax payers need to prop up a well thought out business decision?

25 ( +30 / -5 )

Well that should reduce the methane production. Methane is a very environmentally damaging chemical produced by rice production.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

What is so foolish is when JA pays farmers not to grow rice to keep the price artificially high. There are so many small postage stamp sized farms that are just sitting fallow as there is no one to farm them, it is time to allow consolidation of farm land and more large scale farming in Japan.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

The recent covid and war in Ukraine has taught us to become food self reliant as soon as possible. Relying on other countries cheaper products is no longer gonna cut it. Time to revive our own domestic products.

World is heading toward a meltdown. High inflation, devaluation of currency and a economic slowdown is currently already brewing. Some countries has already restricted some import of their own product due to their economic crisis. You add that together with a low harvest yield due to climate change, then is better you start to become self reliant in the food sector as soon as possible. Sri Lanka is a warning. Pakistan, Maldives and Nepal is already heading toward that direction. The middle east and Africa is gonna follow soon due to them relying on Ukraine grain.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Japanese farmers are old. Every year, I see more and more abandoned rice fields, some now used for solar energy.

Changing into an other culture will just increase the pace. It might be good to turn into wheat anyway. Not sure what is the more water demanding

13 ( +17 / -4 )

More Japanese farmers are planning to lower their rice production and switch to wheat and soybean this year

It's about time!

9 ( +15 / -6 )

The government has promoted crop conversions by providing farmers with subsidies.

This might be the answer, at least for myself, over this article; and how strange it seems considering today’s rice market. And reasonable expectations thereof.

Which seems right now to be pretty health. Rice futures were trading around $16.25 per hundredweight, which is truly down from prices seen after a one year high of $17.80 seen about a month ago. Reasonable forecasts expect this commodity to trade around $16.51 into 3Q, and potentially back up to around the 17.33 level by 3Q 2023.

Consider, for a moment, also that the talk of the markets that India (largest rice exporter) is stepping up orders for future deliveries, following concerns that their leaders may set restrictions against overseas sales, as with wheat and sugar. Strong futures contracts are being seen coming in from some near Eastern and Chinese buyers.

But, farmers rely heavily on subsidies. For them, it is a matter of survival.

Keep this topic on the economic radar.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Pragmatic thinking. Then cut the 778% tariff on imported rice by at leat half.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

Farmers are not having a fun time with their crops as a hobby but doing hard work to survive. If the production of rice would leave them on the red then they are justified into changing to much more profitable crops.

Some people will complain for sure, but unless the situation changes this is the only realistic thing farmers can do.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

This could be an opportunity to increase the country’s food self-sufficiency rate, which is currently dismal 37%..Like other developed countries, Japan should give more subsidies to farmers to secure stable food production.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Disband JA, they are blocking any reforms to the production food. The system needs an overhaul to reach anything like self sustainable food production.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Go where the money is. Smart

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I can see farmers in Hokkaido changing their cropping plans but the rest of Japan is really unsuitable for spring wheat. As it is June already, it is well past planting season. Spring wheat grown in Hokkaido is suitable for bread. Spring wheat grown in the rest of the country is probably best suited for chicken feed.

Outside of Hokkaido most of Japan can grow both rice and wheat on the same field in the same calendar year.

Plant rice and grow winter wheat or winter rapeseed, don't change from rice to wheat.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

well so much for gluten free.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

it is time to allow consolidation of farm land and more large scale farming in Japan.

Be careful what you wish for. The ramification of such an act (think: Bayer-Monsanto, Gladstone Land Corporation, Smithfield, etc.) usually means that investors and corporations control what food products will - and won't - be grown on such lands. Rarely do such actions of "altruism" benefit anyone outside of a corporate boardroom.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The recent covid and war in Ukraine has taught us to become food self reliant as soon as possible. Relying on other countries cheaper products is no longer gonna cut it. Time to revive our own domestic products.

I agree with you, BUT it will be difficult to do with the average age of the farmers and fisherman around retirement age. Farming and fishing are very hard jobs, AND the population decline is all around us.

World is heading toward a meltdown. High inflation, devaluation of currency and a economic slowdown is currently already brewing

I agree. I have a feeling this is the calm before the storm.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Be careful what you wish for. The ramification of such an act (think: Bayer-Monsanto, Gladstone Land Corporation, Smithfield, etc.) usually means that investors and corporations control what food products will - and won't - be grown on such lands. Rarely do such actions of "altruism" benefit anyone outside of a corporate boardroom.

I second that. As much as I distrust JA, the alternative seems much worse.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Why don't they also consider any program to uplift rice consumption? Surprisingly, rice is no longer the predominant stable food for the present-day Japanese though it was once the most sacred food and economic unit. By data the Japanese are now consuming more grain and corn (as ingredients for various food products). More notably Japan is also a major exporter of grain food products such as snacks.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I really hope Japan's farms stay healthy and worthwhile for the farmers. It's fun to laugh at the ridiculous prices we see melons and mushrooms sold in velvet boxes go for, but before I lived in Japan I really didn't like vegetables. There vegetables at pretty much any supermarket here are so much better than what we get at big supermarkets in Australia it's unreal.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

As much as I hate government intervention in business, I support farm subsidies as food is a national security issue. As the article states, we are importing 80% wheat and 90% soy beans, so at the mercy of the markets and geopolitical situations. Domestic food producers need to be promoted and protected.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I’m growing my own beans and vegetables-takes a few minutes a day and totally organic

9 ( +13 / -4 )

this country have no other choice.

as Japan have imposed sanctions on Russia and will do not import russian grain,will need to grow one domestically.actually it may be good since demand on market will be high and there is no need to buy abroad while you can make at home,think abt costs,delivery time,pollutions etc.nature as well.

good move.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It's about time!

Japan can and should be growing wheat a long time ago, I see some fields but not enough.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

""Currently, 80 percent of the wheat and 90 percent of the soybean used and consumed in Japan is imported, and their prices have increased sharply as Russia and Ukraine are their major producers.""

Hard to believe!! Wheat is much easier to grow and I hope more and more farmers grow it, nothing like fresh green wheat roasted over an open fire then dipped in honey , try it, it is Awesome.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

as Japan have imposed sanctions on Russia and will do not import russian grain,will need to grow one domestically.actually it may be good since demand on market will be high and there is no need to buy abroad while you can make at home,think abt costs,delivery time,pollutions etc.nature as well.

good move.

Necessary move.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

LDP is creating a self-inflicted famine in the coming years through chaotic, stupid planning of agricultural development with neoliberal mindsets.

Japan is suitable for cultivating rice, and the sudden cultivation of wheats can deteriorate the soil quality in the long terms. Coupling with rising cases of agricultural lands to become industrial, real estate, solar energy lands. Japan will deplete many core agricultural lands in coming years, and the Yen is also getting weaker that will raise prices on imports. Japan's agriculture is not self-sufficient and is very weak.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

people in Japan are eating much more bread than say 30years ago or so.

Its about time to make more grain locally to be in better shape than now when Japan need to import some 60% of food from abroad.There is no need to import goods as long as you can make it at home.Gov should rethink its agro policy and support new young farmers as many tambo are just taking break without any care.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

That’s all well and good, but will it prompt people to eat bread instead of rice? Unlikely!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why don't they just go back to growing both wheat AND rice like they always used to. Wheat over the winter then harvest that just in time to plant the rice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Strangerland + @Eastman

Do you folks understand that Japan imports 0 tonnes of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and the entire Black sea?

Maybe Japan imports a bit of Sorghum from Russia but it would total less than $10 million dollars a year.

Total Japan trade with Russia is about 1.5% of Japanese trade.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@Weasel Come on, man, stop with the monsanto conspiracy theory.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Eastman The problem, and it is a big one, is that the climactic conditions in Japan are really poor, really really poor, to produce high protein wheat for pan bread outside of the small area in Hokkaido. The area of arable land in Hokkaido is around 1 million hectares. With a short rotation between crops of 1 in every 3 years, the most land available to grow high protein spring wheat in Hokkaido is 330,00 ha. Just in North Dakota there is over 15 million hectares of arable land. North Dakota can supply Japan with cheap high protein, high quality wheat for pan bread. Japan can supply North Dakota with cars. That's how trade builds wealth.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I’m growing my own beans and vegetables-takes a few minutes a day and totally organic

thanks, I thought I was alone on this one.

I struggle to find safe flour and soybean products that are not originated from the GM countries of USA and Canada. Many of these EU banned products seem to be very present in Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You can not change a rice field in one year into a wheat field

you would need to fill in the rice fields with ground ..

This news looks to be incorrect or a case of lost in translation

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Weasel The patent for the single gene resistance to glyphosate has expired. Anybody can go ahead and insert it into any crop that they want to and not pay a nickle to "monsanto."

There is nothing stopping a rice breeder, except conspiracy nuts, from using that single gene to develop gyphosate resistant rice.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Make sure you go out and buy a bag of rice or two before the storm comes. Its going to be a long winter.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The farm ministry ........ recommends a further 4,000 hectares should be reduced to bring down production to match the level of demand at around 6.75 million tons.

Hopefully, there’s a decent stockpile set aside as insurance in case the country suffers another of its periodic crop disasters. Heaven forbid having to import タイ米 like happened a while back.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

well so much for gluten free

Well wheat w/o gluten is not wheat..If gluten is an issue..than don't eat wheat.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wow... when they've made rice and its seedlings SO expensive here that they can't even grow it themselves anymore... Of course, they'll still keep the 900% tariffs on other nations (often better tasting) rice, too.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

proxyToday 11:29 am JST

@Strangerland + @Eastman

Do you folks understand that Japan imports 0 tonnes of wheat from Russia, Ukraine and the entire Black sea?

Maybe Japan imports a bit of Sorghum from Russia but it would total less than $10 million dollars a year.

Total Japan trade with Russia is about 1.5% of Japanese trade.

///

May I know your source?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You can not change a rice field in one year into a wheat field

how come lots of rice paddies near my house have suddenly this year changed to wheat? And solar panels.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There is nothing wrong with switching from rice to wheat to help keep domestic prices as low as possible during the wheat crisis the world faces. Ramen is highly consumed in Japan and should be one of it's larger domestic staples produced on farms around the nation.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope Japanese aren't prone to Celiac disease because if they are they're in for a rough ride.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

People should used instant rice,it use less energy to prepare

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So much (printing) money pursuing less goods means hyperinflation. We are looking at manufactured food shortages. The idea is to collapse the old economic system so these elites can implement their Great Reset agenda.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What about accepting Ukrainian refugees to teach Japanese rice farmers how to grow wheat, where to grow wheat and so on? Fields that are designed to be flooded and have been used for exactly the same crop, rice, for centuries may not be good for growing wheat. Perhaps, unused farmland could be given to Ukrainians if they agree to grow wheat for a number of years. I should say lent not given because you cannot own farmland in Japan unless you are a farmer and have been a farmer for a number of years.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Eastman There are a thousand sources. You can start by checking on the MAFF website.

If the Japanese government wants to lower the cost of wheat imports from US+AUS+Can the easiest thing in to remove the "mark up" MAFF adds onto their tenders.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@gaijintraveller

That may sound good on paper but most wheat grown in Japan is winter wheat, while most grown in Ukraine is spring wheat. Regardless, the varieties grown have huge differences in agronomic packages and fertility requirements. In addition pest pressure is completely different in Japan, requiring a completely different strategy. The soils are very different, the plants are different, the pests are different, the weather is different, the equipment is different; every factor going into producing a crop of wheat is different and creates a steep learning curve.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan went thousands of years without wheat, do we even really need it?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

we need wheat!

beer, beer, and more beer!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You can not change a rice field in one year into a wheat field

you would need to fill in the rice fields with ground ..

This news looks to be incorrect or a case of lost in translation

No, this looks like a comment from either someone who doesn't live in Japan or has never wandered outside of Tokyo. Farmers in my area grow a spring crop of barley (Mugi) and then flood their fields and grow rice. If you can grow barley, I'm pretty sure you can grow wheat too. Barley is far more nutritious however.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites