Japan rice stockpiles down as surplus bought for livestock feed

Government looking to reduce surplus, support prices

An industry group in Japan has bought some of the country’s surplus rice stockpiles to sell as livestock feed, bringing stockpiles down from an 11-year high, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

Rice Stable Supply Support Mechanism, a group of rice producers and distributors, bought 350,000 metric tons of rice to sell to feed makers or processed food producers, according to a Bloomberg report.

Inventory of Japanese food rice held by local producers and distributors fell from 2.24 million metric tons a year ago to 2.22 million metric tons, according to a Bloomberg report. Volume is expected to fall to 2.09 million metric tons at the end of June 2015, the lowest in three years.

Wholesale prices of Japanese food rice averaged 14,328 yen (US$139) per 60-kilogram bag in June, down 12 percent from a year ago.

Japan grows enough rice to feed the country, and the government maintains high import tariffs and subsidizes production.

The government lowered its production target for food rice to 7.65 million metric tons this year, compared with 2013’s harvest of 8.18 million metric tons, as it tries to reduce its surplus and support prices, according to Bloomberg.