Japan to help farmers obtain food safety certificates for 2020 Games

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government will boost efforts to help domestic farmers obtain food safety certificates needed for providing food to the Olympics and Paralympics, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The move is designed to highlight the attractions of Japanese food when the country is in the international spotlight for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics as the government aims to expand exports of Japanese agricultural products.

Specifically, the government plans to provide subsidies to farmers who revamp their farms to apply for food safety certificates.

At recent Olympic events, food at athletes’ villages and sporting venues has been required to meet an international food safety standard.

In December, the Tokyo Games’ organizing committee proposed requiring food suppliers to obtain Global GAP (Good Agricultural Practice), an internationally recognized standard for farm production, or JGAP, a similar scheme in Japan.

“The Olympics are the perfect opportunity to highlight Japan’s food culture to the rest of the world,” a government official said.

“Getting more farmers to obtain safety certificates can provide a base for expanding Japan’s agricultural exports,” the official said.

But farmers face hurdles, including as much as about ¥1 million in initial-year costs for applying for Global GAP and having to submit their applications in English.

According to the farm ministry, only about 400 farms have obtained Global GAP, which is operated by a German nonprofit organization.

Farmers aiming to supply rice and wheat for the 2020 Games need to apply for Global GAP by the spring of 2018 at the latest, but the certification system is not yet well known among farmers.

“If nothing is done, Japan will be unable to provide sufficient domestic foodstuffs for the 2020 Games and will have to use imported products,” a senior farm ministry official said.

The government’s plan aimed at giving farmers a good understanding of the safety scheme also includes fostering experts well-versed in Global GAP and providing subsidies to draw up a manual in Japanese for obtaining the certificate.Speech

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