Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 19, 2014
Japan is to restart exports of rice grown in Fukushima for the first time since foreign sales were halted due to fears of contamination by the nuclear disaster there, officials said Tuesday.
The National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh), a major wholesaler of Japanese agricultural products, said it will send 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of the grain to Singapore.
Its provenance will be marked and it will not be mixed with other produce, an official said. The rice was grown some 60-80 kilometres (37-50 miles) west of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, he said.
It will be the first time rice grown in Fukushima prefecture -- which hosts the battered Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant -- has been sold abroad since fiscal 2012 when the region exported 17 tonnes (2,420 pounds) to Hong Kong, a Fukushima official said.
"Despite our efforts at explaining the safety of Fukushima-made farm products, up until now we have not been able to find retailers who wished to trade rice grown in Fukushima," said an official for Zen-Noh.
"From now on, we aim to export more Fukushima rice, including to Singapore."
Fukushima was a key agricultural area before the 2011 disaster, when a huge tsunami swamped reactors and sparked meltdowns, sending out plumes of radioactive material.
Thousands of people were evacuated and huge tracts of land were rendered unfarmable.
The accident has left the Fukushima brand contaminated both domestically and internationally. Despite government assurances it is safe, farmers who till fields many kilometres from the plant have struggled to find buyers for their produce.
Local officials say rigorous testing proves there is no risk from consuming rice grown in Fukushima prefecture, an area that stretches way beyond the plant and its environs.
"All rice grown in Fukushima is being checked for radioactivity before being shipped to the market," another Fukushima official said.
"Our rice is proved to have passed the government safety standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram (a measure of radioactive contamination), and is mostly below detection levels" of measuring instruments, he said.
Before the disaster, more than 100 tonnes of Fukushima-grown rice, peaches and apples were being sold abroad a year, chiefly in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the official said.
In 2012 export of peaches and apples to Thailand resumed and last year exports of the fruits to Malaysia resumed, he said.
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|