Monday, August 17, 2009

You Do Learn Something New Every Day

JMR blogging at Eris in Asia, tells me something I scarcely would have believed possible - that the figures for agricultural self-sufficiency are not based on value of production or added-value but on the calorific value of the food produced.

So much for plans for winning a decoration for a patriotic expansion of Japanese vegetable and fruit production -- with the low caloric values of that which can be grown in this Blessed Land's upland fields and orchards, even wildly successful efforts to increase production would scarcely earn a smidgen of statistical recognition.

The further claim - that poultry or cattle raised on imported feed do not count as domestic food production -- is simply stunning. I guess use of land and labor in Japan are just giveaways, at least as far as calculations of domestic production of milk, eggs and meat are concerned.

4 comments:

RMilner said...

As the article says, the calorific value of domestic production is essential in a war scenario.

A cynic might say that the use of this type of measurement during peacetime is not unconnected with the reliance of the LDP on over-represented agricultural constituencies.

Janne Morén said...

You can certainly argue that from a food security perspective, livestock depending on imported feed should not count towards domestic production. It doesn't improve the self-sufficiency rate after all; if anything it worsens it, as you get less food from the meat than you'd get from eating the imported grain directly.

Anonymous said...

Janne is right, of course. What Japan will need to do is to forget about cheap, imported beef, and go back to a situation where you rely more on domestically produced grains.

Also note that DPJ's Manifesto wants tougher rules for beef inspection both in Japan and abroad, and they are calling for a better food labelling system, including country-of-origin labels for all ingredients.

PaxAmericana said...

I didn't know for sure, but had assumed that the self-sufficiency numbers were based on calories, as that is what matters in times of crisis. I would like to know if they consider seafood that Japanese ships harvest from the South Pacific is counted as domestic production. If there's a serious crisis, or the globalization model falls apart, the fuel probably wouldn't be available for such fishing.