Rice consumption may help reduce the risk of bowel cancer, a study has suggested.
Professor Ann Richardson of the University of Canterbury said more than 2800 Kiwis were diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and it was “very possible” dietary changes were associated with world cancer trends.
“Rapid increases in the incidence of bowel cancer in Japan and Hong Kong have been linked to dietary changes which have occurred in these countries over the last 50 years,” Stuff.co.nz quoted her as saying.
Per capita, rice consumption declined by almost 50 per cent in Japan over the past 20 to 30 years.
Read the rest of the story: Eating rice may help fight cancer.
A research agency in Fukushima Prefecture has begun testing about 110 varieties of Japanese and foreign rice in a search for strains that absorb less radioactive cesium from the soil.
The project, which was initiated by the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center in Koriyama, after the meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, is unprecedented in that no research has ever been done on rice grown on land tainted by relatively high amounts of radioactive matter, the center’s research team said.
The research is important since the radioactive fallout from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant will likely disrupt rice farming in nearby areas for years to come, it said.
Read the rest of the story: Fukushima hunts for cesium-resistant rice.
Twenty-five years ago, Japan was a very competitive manufacturing country, and much of its economic policy since then has been in response to trade friction with the United States, which demanded greater access to Japanese markets for American agricultural products in order to offset Japan’s trade surplus. However, Japan’s farm sector was considered the prime constituency of the Liberal Democratic Party, which had controlled the government since 1955, so any concession to foreign agricultural interests was seen as a betrayal of that base. It was a political problem, not an economic one.
The main sticking point was rice. The LDP caved on oranges and beef, but rice, a "sacred" commodity, was off limits. Every so often the government would limit car exports in order to appease the growling functionaries in Washington, but it didn’t matter. Japanese people weren’t buying enough American products, and finally, in 1993, when the LDP was briefly out of power, the government joined the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and has since allowed 770,000 tons of foreign rice to enter Japan every year, most of which is used as animal feed, re-exported as food aid, or socked away in warehouses. As a "countermeasure" the government pledged ¥6 trillion for rice-related matters, half of which would be spent on public works to provide jobs in farming areas.
Read the rest of the story: The sticky subject of Japan’s rice protection.
Global food prices are soaring again, as droughts, freezes and floods have affected various crops in many parts of the world. At the same time, demand is rising with living standards in fast-growing countries.
The price spikes are not as sharp as they were in 2008, but the new volatility reflects more than the sum of recent freakish weather "events," from severe droughts in China and Russia to floods in Australia to a deep freeze in Mexico.
Economists and scientists have identified longer-term changes — from global warming to China’s economic growth to a lack of productive farmland — as the culprits. Is the world producing enough food — specifically grain? Is this a continuation of the 2008 crisis, or something quite different?
Read the rest of the story: Is the World Producing Enough Food?.