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2014年9月19日 (金)

食料自給率 農業再生へ穀物偏重を改めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An outdated fixation on grains warps Japan’s agricultural policy
食料自給率 農業再生へ穀物偏重を改めよ

We believe agricultural policy that is fixated on increasing Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate could, ironically, be a major disadvantage to the revitalization of Japan’s agriculture.
 食料自給率の上昇にこだわった農政は、日本の農業再生にかえってマイナスではないか。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has established a head office in charge of implementing “aggressive agricultural policies.” It has started considering concrete ways of boosting exports of Japanese farm products, among other strategies.
 農林水産省は「攻めの農業」に関する実行本部を設け、農産品の輸出促進など具体策の検討を開始した。

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has trumpeted the revitalization of regional areas and an economic growth strategy as centerpieces of its policy lineup. Energizing agricultural policies and methods that harness the unique characteristics of individual regions is crucial for achieving both of these goals. We hope business developments across the entire process from production to processing to retail will generate growth industries that enable regional areas to flourish.
 安倍政権が掲げる成長戦略と地方創生を後押しするためにも、各地の特性を生かした農業の活性化は急務だ。生産から加工、販売まで一貫した事業展開により、地域を潤す成長産業に育てたい。

However, we find it disconcerting that the government has touted agricultural policies aimed at “maintaining and then increasing the nation’s food self-sufficiency rate” with the aim of ensuring a stable supply of food.
 気がかりなのは、政府が食料の安定確保の観点から、「食料自給率の維持・向上」を農業政策の目標に掲げていることである。

The food self-sufficiency rate is the proportion of food consumed in Japan that is domestically produced. Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate is 39 percent on a caloric intake basis. The government has set a target of raising this figure to 50 percent by fiscal 2020.
 食料自給率は国民が消費する食料のうち国産品が占める比率だ。食物のカロリーを基に算出した自給率は現在39%である。政府は2020年度までに、50%に引き上げることを目標にしている。

While that might sound admirable, it is a stretch to say that a self-sufficiency rate based on caloric intake is an accurate barometer of the true ability of Japan’s agricultural sector.
 ところが、カロリー基準の自給率は、日本の農業の実力を正しく示している指標とは言い難い。

As an example, even pigs and cattle raised by dairy farmers in Japan are not considered to be domestically produced if they eat imported feed, so they are not included in calculations for the self-sufficiency rate.
 例えば、国内の酪農家が育てた牛や豚であっても、輸入した飼料を使った分は国産と見なされず、自給率に算入されない。

Japan grows many of its own fruit and vegetables. But because they are less calorie-dense than rice and other grains, they do not contribute much to the overall self-sufficiency rate.
 野菜や果物は国産が多いのに、コメなどの穀物よりカロリーが低いため、自給率にあまり貢献していない。

However, when measured on a production value basis, Japan’s self-sufficiency rate rises to 65 percent.
生産額を基準に算出すると、自給率は65%に上がる。

Reforms needed

As the quality of Japanese fruit and vegetables improves and more areas develop their own brands of produce, they hold great promise as export products. Focusing too much on a calorie-based self-sufficiency rate has undeniably sidetracked the development of growth industries.
 野菜や果物は品質向上やブランド化が進み、輸出品としても有望だ。カロリー基準の自給率を重視するあまり、成長分野の振興が後回しになった面は否めまい。

The government has set a target of fiscal 2018 for abolition of the policy of reducing acreage used for rice cultivation, which was designed to maintain steady rice prices. And yet at the same time, it plans to expand subsidies to farmers who switch to growing rice to be used as animal feed.
 政府は18年度をメドに、コメの価格維持を目的とした減反政策を廃止する。ただ一方、飼料用米への転作補助金などは拡充する。

Increasing production of domestically grown feed will lead to a higher food self-sufficiency rate.
 国産飼料の増産は、自給率向上につながる。

However, it will also incur huge costs that will protect small farms that have low productivity. This runs counter to the concept of “aggressive agricultural policies.”
だが、高いコストをかけ、生産性の低い零細農家を保護することになる。「攻めの農業」には逆行しよう。

Japan’s self-sufficiency rate was almost 100 percent in the years after World War II when food was scarce. This was because Japan could not afford to import much food. There is little point in using this food situation as a yardstick. Only a handful of other nations and territories, including South Korea and Taiwan, have set self-sufficiency targets.
 戦後の食糧難の時代、日本の自給率は100%近かった。輸入する余裕がなかったためだ。食料事情の目安としての意味も薄い。自給率を目標にしているのは、海外では韓国や台湾などわずかだ。

New Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Koya Nishikawa has said he will “consider which figure should be the goal” for the nation’s food self-sufficiency rate, an indication that the government might revise down its target. This is an opportunity to review current self-sufficiency goals, and should be a major turning point in an agricultural policy that has attached too much emphasis to grains.
 西川農相は食料自給率について「どの辺りを目標にすべきか検討したい」と述べ、下方修正を示唆した。自給率向上を目標としている現状を見直し、穀物偏重の農政を転換すべきだろう。

Stricken by a shortage of people willing to take over farms and an increasing amount of arable land and paddies that have become abandoned, Japan’s agricultural sector is standing on a precipice. It is vital to force through reforms that will boost productivity and the nation’s competitiveness by promoting large-scale farming and encouraging more businesses to enter the agriculture sector. This will transform agriculture into a sector that attracts more people and more investment.
 農家の担い手不足や耕作放棄地の拡大で、日本農業は存亡の危機にある。農地の大規模化や企業参入などの改革を断行して生産性と競争力を高め、農業を魅力ある産業に転換することが肝心だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 18, 2014)Speech

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