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Porkers pig out on excess rice

by 5m Editor
14 April 2006, at 12:00am

JAPAN - Pigs fed with rice may be one solution to issues of the country's deteriorating food self-sufficiency and the preservation of farmland.

Pork from pigs fed with rice is scheduled to go on market next month, the result of a project aimed at using rice, which has seen a downturn in demand, as livestock feed.

The project was started in fiscal 2004 by the Yuzamachi municipal government, Japan Agricultural Cooperatives' Shonai Midori and Yamagata University.

In the three-sector joint project, the municipality rents farmland and then leases it to a nonprofit organization, the Yuza Kankyo Kyodososhiki Chokai Shizen Network. Rice for livestock feed is grown by 37 local farmers and then sold to Hirata Farm Co., a pig farm in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture. The farm uses the rice to lower the ratio of corn in its hybrid feed.

Last fiscal year, 108 tons of rice was grown on 19 hectares for the project, feeding 6,000 pigs. This fiscal year, rice growing will be expanded to 62 hectares as more farmers join the project.

Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun

5m Editor