Japan to support domestic potato production after poor harvest

Japan to support domestic potato production after poor harvestThe agriculture ministry in Japan will help domestic potato farmers increase production following a halt in sales of some potato chip products in the country due to a potato shortage, sources said Tuesday. The ministry has included ¥3 billion for related costs in its budget request for fiscal 2018, the sources said. Some 80 percent of potatoes for chips are grown in Hokkaido Prefecture. The potato crop was poor there last year due to typhoons, forcing major domestic snack makers Calbee Inc. and Koike-Ya Inc. to halt sales of some products from spring this year to September. To help Hokkaido farmers keep supplying enough potatoes to the processors, the ministry plans to shoulder half of the farmers’ costs for introducing large harvesting machines and potato varieties that are resistant to diseases and pests, the sources said, adding that it will also back efforts to boost production of seed potatoes. More