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

Kyodo -- Jun 11
More Japanese farmers are planning to lower their rice production and switch to wheat and soybean this year amid rising grain prices caused by Russia's war in Ukraine, according to a government survey.

Among Japan's 47 prefectures, 37 said as of the end of April that they will reduce cooking rice acreage from a year earlier, up from the 22 prefectures that responded the same way in the previous January survey, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

"An increasing number of farmers are switching to wheat and soybean productions as their global prices are surging," a ministry official said, adding that demand for such crops produced in Japan has already been strong.

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.

In contrast, the consumption and price of rice in Japan are on a downtrend since fiscal 1962 as dietary lifestyles diversify and the population decreases.