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High-yield rice seen as savior to Japan's rising food costs

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1,000 hectares may sound like a lot, but in large scale agriculture, it really is a tiny amount. While it's understandable that these chain franchises need to find stable supplies, the consumer is STILL paying far too much for rice here in Japan!

Not to mention that this title is rather misleading, sure it's a cost saver to businesses, but not us consumers!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Increase the yield without increasing subsidies to pay rice farmers not to grow so they can avoid flooding the market to keep their price fixing practices in place.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

an affordable alternative that can be harvested in larger quantities than premium rice brands, is growing in popularity as Japan seeks ways to counter rising ingredient costs in restaurant chains and ready-made meals.

It's almost three decade after Japanese bubble, less people can really afford those premium rice brands. Gladly those farmer become realistic.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They don’t seem to mention that the high yield rice is also genetically modified rice.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The cost of food as a % of income is much lower than a few decades ago. Cheaper food simply means more food waste.

As with the rest of the cuurent economy the focus is simply on cheaper, lower quality goods and produce.

We grow as much of our own food as possible - healthier, tastier, no packaging and no chemicals.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Do the hustle, so what if it is modified?

The naturalistic fallacies abound as soon we ever get into these types of conversation.

(never mind that we have manipulated most varieties of food almost unrecognizably from their origins already, just using slower methods)

We have many countries where things like golden rice (modified to have higher levels of important vitamins and minerals) could save children's sight and other problems not allowed because objections mostly from the lack of knowledge of people as soon as we get into this area.

Organic doesn't instantly mean good, in-fact organic gardening has less controls and still uses fertilizers and insect repellents, and those chemicals used incorrectly or too much can absolutely be harmful.

The other issue with organic is lower yield, which isn't great as the arable land available to us is mostly already in use, with growing populations, fewer resources, and the climate likely to be less kind year after year we have to consider all options without the baggage.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Great. Japanese white rice is just about the unhealthiest of all types of rice out there.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why bother, just import Japonica rice from the US and make Trump happy.

Abe san has to open up Japan's rice market to appease Trump anyway.

You never have to worry about rice import from the US to be in short supply.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They don’t seem to mention that the high yield rice is also genetically modified rice.

@ Do the Hustle. You can rest easy. GM is illegal in Japan.

High yield rice is a real good initiative, and will insure food security in Japan for years to come. Good job JA, good job!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

NZ2011, I don't know what kind of organic farming you are talking about, but the ones I know never use insect repellents. They also use non-chemical fertilizers. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to consider themselves organic. There are other methods for getting high rice yields like SRI (system of rice intensification). Whether the rice is organic, chemically treated, or GMO manufactured, there are ways outside of rice method that can produce higher yields. Most farmers don't want to deal with that; they'd rather just buy seed that is a guarantee. Fukuoka Masanobu warned about this but he told his son and grandson to use conventional methods because they have to make a living as rice growers, and going against the grain can cause all sorts of problems. It seems to be the pressure of commerce and society in general that directs how we grow our food. I hope the ingestion of GMO rice will not be a detriment to human health. That's what is wrong with it - we really don't know the long term effects. Mr Fukuoka surmised that eating food whose seed can't regenerate will eventually make humans sterile. Some people laugh at this. He trained as an agricultural researcher, quit and created a method of growing rice that surpassed yields of neighboring rice fields. Should people laugh at the opinion of such a person? "You are what you eat" may be closer to the truth than we think.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You can rest easy. GM is illegal in Japan.

No it's not. Japan imports lots of GM food.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Why bother? Australia can already produce yield twice that of Japan (10 tonnes/ha), and note it's a desert!

Cutting back on excess and actually follow buddhist 'no waste' principle would be more likely to achieve food security.

Seriously, the world has moved on, Texas is no longer the oil capital, Brits don't rules the sea, and Japan trying to hold onto rice paddies is just nuts, think of all the other alternatives, I bet beef or lamb would get much better financial returns.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

California farmers grow an abundance of rice and... it's delicious and inexpensive BUT in the USA food is not just for the wealthy. We eat strawberries, tomatoes, avocados, mangos, rice, bread, beef, etc. All the time!

Japanes shoppers are screwed, living in a fixed system that rewards inflated profits.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ganbare.....You can rest easy. GM is illegal in Japan.

What bullocks! You should visit OIST here in Okinawa where the scientists are working on creating genetically modified rice that withstands various climatic changes.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170603/p2a/00m/0na/002000c

Japan is one of the world's LARGEST importers of genetically modified crops!

https://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/japan.php

6 ( +6 / -0 )

High yield rice is a real good initiative, and will insure food security in Japan for years to come. Good job JA, good job!

Changing rice will not be sufficient to insure food security.

Government (all level) should enforce greenery moreover since it will have a good impact on climate. : roof garden, vegetal wall, vertical garden, urban forest, urban farm...

beef or lamb would get much better financial returns

The problem is that this kind of view is short sighted and narrow scaled.

First is the help from government for "growing" meat and growing meat food vs the help for growing no meat human food. If 1 calorie of meat cost more to the government than 1 calorie of vegetable, it means the people have to pay more tax.

Second, you can not feed animals out of water. As the article say, the conversion of rice pad to animal feed pad is one of the reason of rice price increase. So the people end up paying more for non meat food.

Third, you need more resources to create 1 calorie of meat than of vegetable. So the environmental cost is stronger : energy production, soil used up, ... . This kind of cost is again shared by the people as a whole. Moreover than means than Japan will get farther of food security.

Fourth, on diet level the current way of living of developed country people don't claim so much meat nutriment. It can even damageable moreover if that goes with reduction of other nutriment as vegetable ones. Poor health has a cost and it will be supported by the people.

So for one getting more money everyone get less.

Japan should be better of increasing its non meat production and, for reducing price, farmer and consumer should aim for more direct business (it is still kind of limited and not well-know) : no intermediate means higher selling price and lower buying price, thought than means you get the product the farmer farmed :

Customer : what is that ?

Farmer : it is ...

Customer : how I am supposed to eat it ?

Tips : do not forget the recipe guide

Encouraging and making possible self-production even in major cities should also be a good move.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Flute If you are worried about the "climate emergency," the Japanese government should ban ALL rice production. Growing rice is the worst crop as far as releasing greenhouse gases.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese scientists should focus on developing C4 GMO rice to increase the yield to reduce the cost of rice. If Japan doesn't, their farmers will fall even further behind.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It would still be a whole lot cheaper to import rice. The number of farm/agriculture votes for the LDP peaked at least a decade ago, and there is no viable political opposition, so give everyone a break and drop the tarrifs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It would still be a whole lot cheaper to import rice. The number of farm/agriculture votes for the LDP peaked at least a decade ago, and there is no viable political opposition, so give everyone a break and drop the tarrifs.

Totally agree! Problem is purely cultural and a problem with education/brainwashing the public into believing that Japanese rice is the "only" rice for Japanese, as in it tastes the best and is No.1 in world!

You can get koshihikari from the US, but some Japanese folks will find some reason to put it down, the soil is different, the water isn't pure, the "air", whatever, and write it off as being 2nd grade!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Surely allowing more food imports is the solution to this problem?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ganbare,

You are sooooo busted.

Almost all natto that costs less than ¥100 is GM.......natto as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@proxy,

If recent study show that its effect were underrated (twice worst than thought) , it is still below meat production.

For methane : meat (Enteric fermentation+Manure management) = 62,1% vs Rice = 35,6%

For nitrous oxide : I do not know

There is researches about how to reduce rice's paddy greenhouse gas emission. I do not know if they are talked in account in Japan though.

https://file.scirp.org/pdf/AJPS_2015082514031710.pdf

So if the government is going to ban some production, I guess it better start by meat. I will let you explain that to the meat lover since you are the one promoting a ban of some production in regard of it's greenhouse gases emission. I will just stick to what I wrote before : increasing meat production is not needed but increasing vegetable production is more than welcome.

@ Yubaru

I met someone like that in the past, had to ensure this person that there was japanese produced japanese rice in the city in was moving on thanks to importation and other rice were fine too. I pretty much expect this person put a 5kilos rice bag in ones suitcase and asked ones family to send rice on regular basis.

Fortunately, it was only one out of several so there is hope for other rice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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