Kumamoto Prefecture Helps Make Effective Use of Substandard Local Vegetables
Copyright Kumamoto Prefecture
The government of Kumamoto Prefecture in southern Japan has launched a project that introduces substandard agricultural products produced in the prefecture to box-lunch shops in business districts in Osaka Prefecture in western Japan. Kumamoto Prefecture's Osaka office has led this project, called the "Mottainai Project" ('mottainai' literally means 'not wasting what is valuable'), and started it in earnest in 2010.
The prefectural government began this project on a trial basis in 2008 in cooperation with a shop that sells box lunches and set meals in the same building as its Osaka office. In this shop, vegetables and fruits that used to be discarded, mainly due to scars on them or irregularities in their size, were experimentally sold at display counters that had been clear after lunchtime. These agricultural products were better received than expected, because of their low cost, tastiness, and novelty. As for tomatoes in particular, as much as five tons were sold in less than a four-month period, with sales of about one million yen (U.S.$10,870).
In this project, farmers can distribute substandard vegetables and fruits to shops in small amounts, while shops can make effective use of vacant counters, and also can use vegetables and fruits for box lunches and other meals if they are left unsold. The project is well-received, as it involves little risk for the farmers and shops and brings additional profits to both. So far, 15 local food stores and farmers have distributed such farm products to Osaka, and 38 farmers have showed an interest in doing so.
The prefectural government's Osaka office also plans to hold a food exhibition for box-lunch shop owners to allow them to see and taste-test substandard vegetables, with the aim of enhancing the network with Kumamoto Prefecture and acquiring new vendors in the Osaka metropolitan area.
Posted: 2010/05/05 06:00:15 AM