Fukushima’s agricultural products continue to grow for export despite rumors

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Fukushima Prefecture’s agricultural exports continued to grow, overcoming reputation damage caused by the triple meltdown of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

Exports reached a record level in terms of volume for the third consecutive year in fiscal 2019 and managed to remain at a high level in fiscal 2020 despite the negative impact of the coronavirus.

Local farmers believe unfounded rumors of Fukushima’s food contamination are receding, though there are concerns that the government’s decision to dump the treated radioactive water from the nuclear power plant into the ocean will further harm the environment. reputation.

Following the nuclear disaster at the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., up to 54 countries and regions restricted imports of agricultural products grown in Fukushima, such as peaches and rice. Currently, 14 economies, including China and South Korea, ban these imports.

Exports increased as global restrictions eased, reaching 305 tonnes in fiscal 2019, which ended in March 2020, double the level seen before the disaster.

In fiscal 2020, Fukushima’s peach exports halved as sales promotion campaigns in Malaysia and other countries had to be suspended due to the spread of the virus.

In Hong Kong and Singapore, however, Fukushima rice has attracted strong household demand as the pandemic has forced people to stay at home.

As a result, rice exports fell only 6.6% from FY2019, to 285 tonnes. For the current year, exports are expected to exceed the FY2020 level.

Since the nuclear disaster, Tetsuo Goto, a peach farmer in Koori Town, has been trying to grow a high-sugar breed called CX. He also acquired a certificate of good agricultural practices for sustainable agriculture.

Thanks to these efforts, Goto is receiving more orders than before the disaster and has managed to attract more consumers.

Although he ignored the fallout from the pandemic, concerns remain about the plant’s water being released.

“I don’t want to see malicious rumors spread again,” Goto said.

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