The amount of Japanese rice imported by China has tripled between 2013 and 2014, even if it costs about 10 times more than the local alternative. This indicates a declining confidence in the safety of domestic produce in China, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to Japan’s National Federation of Agricultural Cooperation Association, China imported 160 tons of rice from Japan, which is three times the amount of the previous year.
In May 2013, officials said 44% of rice samples from Guangdong province contained excessive amount of cadmium. In April 2014, an official study revealed that an estimated 16.1% of China’s soil was contaminated by cadmium and other heavy metals.
“In parts of the country, soil pollution is so bad that some rice farmers refuse to eat what they grow,” said the report.
As local fear of contaminated soil escalates, Chinese consumers have turned to online stores to buy safer rice from Japanese sellers, even if it costs much more. In one online store in China, rice imported from Japan is sold at 74 yuan (US$12) per kg, almost 10 times of that of domestic alternative.
Rice from Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam have also become cheaper alternatives.
China has seen a number of food safety crises in recent years, including a milk and milk powder contamination problem in 2008 that killed several infants and led the consumers buying expensive foreign infant formula and milk.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/novosti/japanese-rice-exports-to-china-triple-amid-contamination-scare)