At the meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), officials said Friday that the government will be limiting rice subsidy to large-scale farms. The plan is in preparation for Japan’s free trade agreement at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) while still ensuring the efficiency of the agricultural sector.
LDP officials target next year as when to submit the proposed bill. Criteria for subsidy distribution will be based on rice acreage. At a press conference the same day, Finance Minister Taro Aso claimed, “It is not wrong to integrate farms to reduce production costs and raise profit for farmers.” He also said that the government’s direction of reducing subsidies is “not wrong for this country.” According to LDP officials, some of the participants urged having a system that will help enlarge farms and improve productivity.
During the previous administration of the now opposition group Democratic Party of Japan, when the subsidy program began, then opposition and now ruling bloc LDP criticized the program of expanding subsidies to farmers as pork-barrel spending. But LDP is now considering modifying the subsidy program. “Based on the criticism,” Agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said, referring to LDP’s previous stand, “we will discuss a reforum.” To further explain the government’s stand, the minister said that the government would like to “promote a reform to allow farmers to produce products to meet demand under their own judgment.”
[via Global Post]