Japan Farmers Ask for Understanding on Beef Hike

JAPAN - Japanese beef prices - already the world's highest - are about to go even higher, the country's farmers said Wednesday, warning livestock feed prices have shot up from the global rush for ethanol.
calendar icon 7 February 2008
clock icon 1 minute read
But the farmers pleaded for public understanding from consumers, saying they face extremely difficult times. "We are facing a crisis that is endangering our very survival," said Toshihiko Baba of JA Group, Japan's top agricultural organization.

"This is unprecedented in being unlike any other feed price problems we have experienced."

Baba and the other farmers said they will start a public campaign on their plight Saturday, passing out 25,000 free packages of tissue paper on Tokyo streets with leaflets that explain why meat prices must go up.

The cost of feed in Japan has risen by about a third over the last year, mainly because of the rise in corn prices in the United States, the world's leading producer of corn. Corn is a key ingredient in ethanol. The demand is growing for ethanol, a kind of biofuel, because of soaring oil prices.

The farmers said at JA's Tokyo office Japan's price-setting system makes it difficult for prices to reflect feed costs.

Source: The Canadian Press
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