Aso Cabinet E-mail Magazine No.30 (May 14, 2009)
"Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are growth industries"
These are all defrosted frozen foods. Usually, when we hear the words "frozen food", it conjures up images of meat losing its juices, colors deteriorating, and flavor being lost. However, with a new freezing technology, we can savor that "freshly gathered taste" at any time.
Last weekend, I visited a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, which has developed this innovative freezing technology. The company has around 40 employees, and it is precisely those SMEs that possess the kinds of technology that can be boasted about to the world. It is they who have sustained the manufacturing activities in Japan.
If fish, squid, and Iwagaki oysters are frozen on-location, right after being caught, using this technology, no freshness is lost. They can even draw high prices on the market, increasing revenue for farmers and fishermen.
Furthermore, if this freezing technology is used when juicing oranges, or when making rice with sazae (turban shell), a "freshly picked" or "just prepared" taste can be captured at the place of harvest. Then, the value added from harvest through to processing will all end up in the local region. This will give rise to new jobs and revenue in the area. A fine example of this is the remote island town of Ama-cho in Shimane Prefecture.
I also visited a plant factory in Matsudo City. Here, vegetables are being cultivated inside an unused room of a building in the shopping district, using nothing more than light and nutrient-rich water.
Harvesting is carried out 20 times per year. That is 20 crops a year. Above all, no agricultural chemicals are used, ensuring safety and peace of mind. In addition, since production can be maintained without any effects from factors such as climate, stable revenue can be brought in year-round. This may be one of the directions that agriculture will develop in.
I felt strongly that agriculture, forestry, and fisheries have great potential to develop into growth industries, through their combination with the world-leading manufacturing technology that Japan has cultivated over the years.
From here on, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries will become more
closely linked with industry. I hope to rapidly move forward in
collaboration among agriculture, commerce, and industry, surpassing
their preexisting boundaries.
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