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Food Self-Sufficiency in Japan Stays at 17-Year Low on Fisheries

Japan’s food self-sufficiency remained at a 17-year low in the 12 months ended March 31, according to the farm ministry.

The rate was 39 percent on a calorific intake basis, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said in a statement today. Wheat production rose after poor weather the previous year, while fishery-product output dropped following the earthquake and tsunami as rice consumption slowed, it said.

The self-sufficiency measure fell to a record 37 percent in the year ended March 1994. The country, with a population of 128 million, plans to increase the gauge to 50 percent by fiscal 2020, according to the farm ministry. The nation, the world’s biggest corn importer, is self-sufficient in rice.

Rice stockpiles in Japan may drop to the lowest level since 2008, supporting prices after the grain rallied 20 percent in the local market on reduced supply, the ministry said. Inventories held by producers and distributors may decline to 1.81 million metric tons at the end of June 2013 compared with 1.61 million tons in 2008, the ministry said in a report on July 31.

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