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Date : April 20 - 21, 2010

Video Report: Niigata Press Tour (April 20-21, 2010)

post date : 2013.08.30

■Niigata Press Tour ~"Food Niigata" Works on Safe and Secure Agriculture, and Disaster Food~(April 20-21, 2010) 



Link to APEC Japan 2010 Ministerial Meeting on Food Security (Niigata Promotion Group) 



The press tour to Niigata, where the APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security will be held this October, coveredsafe and secure agriculture, and new efforts to create disaster provisions


【Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida】
Niigata prefecture is among Japan’s largest food producers. In particular, it produces the largest amount of rice, which is the staple of Japan. Because of this, we feel that it is significant that the APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security will be held in Niigata prefecture. 


【Niigata Mayor Akira Shinoda】
Niigata city is the only ordinance-designated city along the Sea of Japan on the island of Honshu, and it is part of this large-city system. The characteristics of this city are slightly different from other ordinance-designated cities. Before Niigata became an ordinance-designated city, Sendai had the highest food self-sufficiency ratio (of 8 %) among other ordinance-designated cities. In comparison, Niigata city has a food sufficiency ratio of 63 %. I think that Niigata city became the first large city with very strong agriculture in Japan.” 


The Miyao Farm in Niigata city practices natural agriculture which utilizes regional bounty.


【Mr. Hirofumi Miyao, President of the Miyao Farm】
I make a living here by growing rice and keeping free-range hens with my family. We cultivate 4 hectares for rice farming, and keep 450 hens which lay eggs to be collected. In our farming, we produce fertilizer and feed by utilizingregional bounty. We wish to practice the old and good way of farming, which was practiced up until about 50 years ago, in a manner which suits modern farming. We avoid using chemicals and try to use the immediate environment.” 


This is rice. Farmers are not allowed to plant rice in 40 % of their paddy fields, because of the rice acreage reduction policy. So, we use rice as animal feed instead. 60% of the hens’ feed is grain. Until five years ago, we used corn to feed the hens, but then a policy was introduced which allows us to use rice. 


***************************************************************************************** Green’s Plant Makiruns the largest vegetable factory in the Tohoku and Hokuriku regions. 


【President Kaoru Wakabayashi, Green’s Plant Maki Ltd.】
We built this facility in 1999 with support from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Niigata Prefecture. What we produce here is mitsuba (trefoil), a chervil-like herb which is unique to Japan. We also grow general herbs and a small quantity of lettuce. We have facilities like this in three different places, and this is the largest one. Inside the factory, there is 10,000 square meters of land.” 


We have to carefully check soil, not only for substances that are good for humans, but also for substances that are poisonous to humans. Vegetables could absorb poisonous substances which then enter the human body indirectly. We grow vegetables hydroponically, and we use tap water for the purpose. So we are confident that our vegetables do not contain any poisonous substance in the first place. I think the tap water in Japan is actually the safest water in the world. 


Sato Foods, which has the largest share, more than 30 %, of the packed rice market, actively makes efforts to provide food aid at times of disaster


【President Isao Sato, Sato Foods Co., Ltd.】
We concluded an agreement with Niigata City for cooperation in disasters. If there is a disaster and our factory gets a phone call, we can immediately deliver requested numbers of rice packs by car without our president’s approval. In a time of disaster, there is no electricity, and you cannot heat food in a microwave. We can promptly deliver 200,000 to 300,000 packs of rice which people can eat immediately. 


In industry-academia-government collaboration, the Niigata University Local Collaboration Food Science Center is pursuing research and development of “disaster food” for disaster victims, taking advantage of its location where more than 1,000 food-related companies are gathered.


【Visiting Professor Shigeru Beppu at Niigata University (President of Foricafoods Corporation)】
If a gymnasium such as this escapes damage in an earthquake, victims will come to live here. There are no lifelines such as electricity and running waterCooking is not possible either. Meals for those people who live here would become a huge issue. 


What I introduce here today is “rescue food” which consists of sterilized packed rice and food in retort pouches. You can heat these with small portable heaters. First, you take the heating material out of the bag, and put it at the bottom. You put the food which you wish to heat here, and pour in liquid for heating. Soon there is a reaction, and it is designed so that steam at more than 95 degrees comes out of the bag slowly for 20 minutes.” 


【Niigata Mayor Akira Shinoda】
Niigata City has all the features; basic agriculture, the food processing industry which adds value to agriculture, andtertiary industry which distributes agricultural and processed food. So, we are very pleased that Niigata City will host the APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security where the future of food and food products will be discussed. It will be an occasion most suited to appeal such Niigata’s features.

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