Japan earthquake may have ‘dire’ effect on food

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 8th April 2011

The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan could have a “dire” impact on the country’s food and agriculture sectors, analysts at Rabobank have warned.

Concerns over food safety and supply problems are likely to hit exports and lead to a rise in imports, particularly from the US, Australia and China, Rabobank said yesterday.

In a report on the impact of the crisis on the food sector, Rabobank said imports of seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables are likely to grow.

The analysts said Japan may also have to draw up a new food security strategy to improve domestic and international confidence in the country’s food industry in the wake of the radiation problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

“While the situation is still evolving, the domino effect of the disaster will likely result in more imports from trade partners, such as the US, Australia and China,” said Jean-Yves Chow, senior industry analyst for north-east Asia at Rabobank’s Food and Agri Research department and the lead author of the report.

“The radiation issues at the Fukushima plant have heightened food safety concerns at a time when Japanese food self-sufficiency is already low. Japan may need to revise its food security strategy to manage the country’s risk.”

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