Japan’s Food Self-Sufficiency Rate Sees Slight Rise to 38%Politics Food and Drink Society
According to a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries report, Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate on a calorie basis was 38% in 2021. This was a 1-point improvement from the previous year, when the rate equaled a record low. The main reason for this rise was an increase in the volume of wheat and soybean harvests. Other factors included a recovery in demand for eating out, which had slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increase in rice consumption. However, the government’s target of a 45% self-sufficiency rate on a calorie basis by 2030 remains a distant goal.
On the other hand, the self-sufficiency rate on a production value basis, which tends to be higher than the one on a calorie basis, fell by four points year-on-year to a record low of 63%. This was caused by import unit prices increasing due to soaring international grain prices and sea freight rates.
The self-sufficiency rate is calculated excluding livestock products produced using imported feed in order to gain an accurate understanding of domestic production. However, the domestic production rate does not reflect the feed self-sufficiency rate, with the thinking being that all livestock products raised within Japan are regarded as domestically produced. The difference between the self-sufficiency rate and the domestic production rate gives an indication of the degree of dependence on foreign feed.
The self-sufficiency rates of the major grain exporting countries Canada, Australia, and the United States all far exceeded 100% on a calorie basis. Italy, which exports large amounts of high-priced fruit and vegetables, demonstrated its strong self-sufficiency rate on a production value basis. Japan’s rates, meanwhile, remained at a low level compared to other countries, both in terms of calorie and production value bases.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)