December 12, 2019
Japan wagyu beef production to reach 300,000 tonnes by 2035
The Japan government aims to double its current wagyu beef production capacity to boost exports and offset reduced demand for the meat domestically, reported The Asahi Shimbun.
In 2018, Japan produced 149,000 tonnes of wagyu beef cattle, made from four strains of Japanese cattle globally renowned for its meat's texture and taste.
The doubled production goal is part of the government's initiatives to benefit from a projected larger low-tariff beef exports quota to the United States, part of the new US-Japan trade deal set to be enforced from January 2020.
The current agreement caps exports to 200 tonnes low-tariff quote for yearly beef exports to the US. This will increase to 65,000 tonnes per year once the new agreement comes into effect.
The Japan government is also discussing with its counterparts in China to possibly lift the Japanese beef exports ban to China, which also includes the profitable wagyu beef. The ban was imposed to protect China from the mad cow disease since 2001. Both counties are hashing out requirements such as safety standards.
To achieve the doubled wagyu beef production goal, Japan's government will ease subsidy requirements for farmers in the country's 2019 supplementary budget. Farmers will be able to use the funds to expand their current livestock area.
In addition, the government will amend the financial incentives criteria for cattle farmers that concentrate on boosting their cattle stock. Previously, these incentives were provided to farmers regardless of the amount of cattle raised.
Global demand for wagyu beef has spiked thanks to growing 'washoku' Japanse food trend, but domestic sales have fallen because of Japan's dwindling population.
- The Asahi Shimbun