Japan may look to the feed industry to decrease its surplus of food rice, according to a Bloomberg report.
The country is currently the world's largest corn buyer, but finds itself stuck with an overabundance of rice due to a decrease in domestic consumption as the national population ages and declines. One possible solution, according to Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is to supply the rice to local feed makers as an alternative to imported feed grains like corn. Domestic rice stockpiles may hit 3.24 million tons by June of 2011, the highest level since 2003.
Masachika Murai, director at the Ministry's rice policy planning division, said oversupply in the domestic market is expected to continue. The feed industry, he said, is ready to use more than 1 million tons of rice as an alternative to the annual 12 million tons of imported corn—if the price is right. A new system of selling rice stockpiles for feed may begin as early as next April if the plan's budget is approved by ruling parties and the parliament.