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Japan Hopes to Double Wagyu Beef Output

10 December 2019

JAPAN - The government said Tuesday it hopes to double the country’s output of wagyu beef, known for its tenderness and marbled fat, to 300,000 tons by fiscal 2035 amid rising overseas demand.

Under the goal, which is part of a government program to support farmers and boost agricultural exports, Japan will aim to increase domestic wagyu beef production from about 149,000 tons last year by offering financial incentives to introduce breeding cows.

To expand beef exports, the government will encourage upgrades to meat processing facilities to comply with stricter US and European safety standards.

The government put together the program in the wake of recent trade deals with the United States, other Pacific Rim nations and the European Union.

The trade pact with Washington is set to take effect 1 January while separate accords with 10 other Pacific economies and the European Union entered into force on 30 December last year and 1 February this year, respectively, opening the domestic market to cheap farm imports from those countries.

Wagyu exports to the United States are expected to grow with the increase of a low-tariff quota on Japanese beef under the bilateral trade deal.

In 2018, Japan’s agricultural exports reached ¥906.8 billion ($8.4 billion), hitting an all-time high for the sixth straight year. Hong Kong was the largest buyer of Japanese produce, followed by China and the United States.

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Source: The Japan Times

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