Toyota Motor Corp. affiliate Toyota Tsusho Corp. will be selling a higher yielding rice seed after seeing a business opportunity in Japan’s farming industry. Production of the rice, which is a Koshihikari rice strain, is beginning this year.
According to Mari Iwata, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Toyota Tsusho, working with an agricultural venture company, has a new strain of the popular rice that produces about 30 percent to 50 percent more rice compared to current commonly planted strains.
“We will sell this rice to professionals such as restaurants and bento [lunch box] producers, who want safe products and competitive prices at the same time,” a Toyota Tsusho spokesman told Iwata.
It is known that Japanese rice farmers are leery of the country signing a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that could open the country to less-expensive foreign rice, and for that reason, branded premium rice is something they are likely to become involved in growing.
The market for high quality restaurant rice is increasing because more Japanese are eating out, although overall demand for rice has been decreasing, according to some reports.