豊作でも高値 矛盾だらけのコメ政策見直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 6, 2012)
Government should review contradictory rice policy
豊作でも高値 矛盾だらけのコメ政策見直せ(11月5日付・読売社説)

At this time of the autumn harvest, when new rice is being marketed, the contradictions of the country's rice policy have become glaringly apparent. There is no time to waste in carrying out agricultural reform.
 新米が出回る実りの秋に、コメ政策の矛盾が噴き出している。農業改革は待ったなしだ。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has forecast a good harvest for this year's rice crop, the first in four years. The harvest is expected to reach about 8.2 million tons, surpassing demand by more than 200,000 tons.
 農林水産省が発表した2012年産米の作況予想は4年ぶりの豊作で、収穫量は約820万トンと需要を20万トン超も上回る見通しだ。

However, rice prices have gone up despite the surplus. Interdealer rice prices in September were about 10 percent higher than those in the same month last year. This is because the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (Zen-Noh) increased the amount of its advance payments to rice farmers.
 ところが、コメ余りなのに価格は上昇した。9月の業者間の取引価格は前年より10%程度高い。全国農業協同組合連合会(JA全農)が、農家に払う前渡し金を引き上げたことが要因だ。

Zen-Noh probably aims to maintain its influence over rice farmers by purchasing their grain at high prices because the volume of rice it collects from farmers has been falling as more and more producers sell directly to major consuming areas.
 生産地と消費地の直接販売などが増え、全農の集荷量が減少しているため、高値買い取りで影響力維持を狙っているのだろう。

Driving rice prices higher despite a good harvest is logic peculiar to agricultural cooperatives. It will never win the understanding of the public.
 豊作で高値を招いているのは、「農協の論理」そのものだ。消費者の理解は得られまい。

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Imported rice drawing attention

It is also problematic that there is a shortage of reasonably priced rice used by restaurants and bento shops even though there should be enough rice to meet demand. This has made imported rice more attractive. In bidding in September, demand surpassed the 25,000 tons of imported rice to be sold by 3.6 times.
 一方、需要は十分まかなえるはずなのに、外食店や弁当業者らの使う手頃な価格のコメが不足していることも問題だ。そこで輸入米が注目され、9月の入札では、2・5万トンの販売数量に対して3・6倍の申し込みがあった。

Due to the deflation that has taken root in the country, demand for cheap rice is becoming stronger year by year. As a result, price competition within the restaurant and bento industries--which currently account for 30 percent of rice demand--has become increasingly fierce. The popularity of imported rice illustrates the reality that domestically produced rice does not meet the market trend toward low-priced rice.
 デフレ定着で安いコメを求める動きは年々強まり、需要の3割を占める外食・弁当産業の価格競争は激しさを増している。輸入米人気は、国産米が市場の低価格志向に応えていない実態を示す。

There is also concern over a possible shortage of rice for processing, which is used to make rice snacks and miso, among other things. Despite the fact that the production of rice for livestock feed has jumped, that of rice for processing has not increased. Last year, the production of rice for livestock feed surpassed that of rice for processing.
 米菓や味噌(みそ)などの原料となる加工用米の品不足も懸念される。家畜のエサとなる飼料用米は急増しているにもかかわらず、加工用米の生産量は増えない。11年産は飼料用が加工用を上回った。

As a result, prices of rice for processing surged, and the farm ministry took the emergency measure of marketing about 40,000 tons of old rice produced in 2006 from the government's stockpiled rice. This is an unusual situation.
 この結果、加工用米の価格が急騰し、農水省は緊急措置として備蓄米から06年産の古米を約4万トン放出した。異例の事態である。

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Subsidies driving crop choices

The government pays rice farmers a subsidy of 80,000 yen for every 0.1 hectare of rice for livestock feed, but only 20,000 yen for rice for processing. This is why planting of rice for livestock feed, which is easy to manage and enables farmers to receive more subsidies, is increasing.
 飼料用米は10アール当たり8万円の補助金が支給されるが、加工用は2万円だ。管理が楽で多額の補助金がもらえる飼料用米の作付けが増えている事情がうかがえる。

Livestock, including cattle and pigs, raised with feed produced overseas is not recognized as having been domestically produced and is therefore not considered in calculating the country's food self-sufficiency rate. The government appears to be trying to raise this rate by giving favorable treatment to rice for livestock feed. However, it is hard to understand why old rice is used for processing and new rice is used as feed for livestock.
 外国産飼料で育てた牛や豚などの畜産物は国産と見なされず、食料自給率の計算外だ。政府は飼料用米を優遇し、自給率アップを狙っているようだが、加工用米が古米で、家畜のエサは新米というのは理解しがたい。

What is needed is a rice policy that meets consumer needs. If nothing is done, consumers may shift away from rice even further.
 今問われているのは、消費者ニーズに応えるコメ政策である。このままでは、消費者のコメ離れも一段と進みかねない。

A fundamental problem lies in the current system under which the government and agricultural organizations maintain high rice prices through production adjustments and high tariffs on imported rice.
 政府と農業団体が生産調整と高関税で、コメ価格を高値で維持する体制に根本的な問題がある。

Simply doling out subsidies to farmers will never strengthen the country's agricultural industry. The government should quickly carry out reform to establish agricultural administration for rice whose policies will focus on farmers.
 補助金をばらまく政策では農業の体質強化はできまい。担い手農家に政策を集中するコメ農政への改革を急ぐべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 5, 2012)
(2012年11月5日01時29分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-11-07 05:51 | 英字新聞

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