Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems, MIDORI (Japan)

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A multitude of global challenges loom over the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and food sectors, most notably the pressing issues of climate change and the escalating frequency of large-scale disasters. Compounding these challenges, Japan's agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries are grappling with a labor shortage, primarily due to the aging of the population. In response to these critical concerns, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) introduced the Strategy MIDORI (green), a blueprint for building a sustainable food system, on May 12, 2021.

Named "MIDORI," this medium- to long-term strategy charts the course for the future and focuses on two key pillars:

  1. Enhancing Stakeholder Engagement: The strategy underscores the importance of involving stakeholders at every juncture of the food supply chains, fostering collaboration and shared responsibility.
  2. Promoting Innovation for Reduced Environmental Impact: Innovation will be a cornerstone of efforts to mitigate the environmental footprint of these industries.

By the year 2050, MAFF has set ambitious targets that encapsulate its commitment to sustainability:

  1. Zero CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Combustion: MAFF aims to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
  2. 50% Reduction in Risk-Weighted Use of Chemical Pesticides: This reduction will be achieved through the widespread adoption of Integrated Pest Management practices and the implementation of newly-developed alternatives to chemical pesticides.
  3. 30% Reduction in Chemical Fertilizer Use: A significant reduction in the reliance on chemical fertilizers is envisaged.
  4. Expansion of Organic Farming: The goal is to increase the land under organic farming to 1 million hectares, which would be equivalent to 25% of total farmland.
  5. 30% Enhancement in Productivity of Food Manufacturers by 2030: This target underscores the drive for greater efficiency and productivity among food manufacturers.
  6. Sustainable Sourcing for Import Materials by 2030: MAFF aims to ensure that the sourcing of import materials aligns with sustainability principles.
  7. Superior Varieties and Enhanced Forestry Seedlings: The aim is to have over 90% superior varieties and F1 plus trees in forestry seedlings.
  8. 100% Artificial Seedling Rates in Aquaculture: The objective is to achieve a 100% rate of artificial seedlings in the aquaculture of species such as Japanese eel and Pacific bluefin tuna.

MIDORI’s Approach to Sustainable Food System

Input: Reducing Environmental Impact

  • Sustainably sourcing materials and energy.
  • Effective utilization of local and unused materials.
  • Encouraging research and development for the reuse and recycling of resources.

Production: Innovating for Sustainability and Productivity

  • Transitioning to more sustainable and productive methods.
  • Implementing eco-friendly materials and machinery.
  • Developing and propagating plant varieties with reduced environmental impact.
  • Carbon sequestration in farmlands, forests, and oceans.
  • Enhancing the work environment.
  • Responsible management of fisheries resources.

Processing and Distribution: Promoting Sustainable Practices

  • Shifting to sustainable imported materials.
  • Enhancing efficiency through data science and AI.
  • Research and development of long-lasting packaging materials.
  • Strengthening the competitiveness of a decarbonized, eco-friendly food industry.

Consumption: Engaging with Consumers

  • Minimizing food loss and waste.
  • Bridging the gap between consumers and producers.
  • Promoting the Japanese diet as a balanced model.
  • Incorporating sustainability into daily life.
  • Advocating for sustainably-harvested and cultured seafood.