Japanese Rice Farming
Tradition and Culture
For over 2000 years, rice has been cultivated in Japan. It is not just a staple food for them but is also rooted and connected to the country’s culture.
Back then, rice was grown in wet fields. Irrigation systems made it necessary for the water to run downhill, linking all rice fields. This setting required intensive labor that made several families work together, which resulted in cooperation and grew a culture of harmony, consensus-seeking, and a feeling of mutual dependency.
Rice was even used as a currency before. Peasants paid their taxes on rice. It is also used as one of the main offerings to the deities at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to symbolize prosperity.
How to Grow Rice
Rice is planted in the spring, harvested in the summer, and cultivated in the fall. According to the changing seasons, the Japanese rice-growing technique adapts its repertoire of operations. Wet farming is used to raise most of the rice in Japan due to the abundance of rain.
When the cherry blossoms begin to turn reddish, the rice cycle begins. Farmers start to “wake up” the fields around the beginning of March. It needs top-notch soil to grow top- notch rice. To loosen the soil and allow water to percolate in, they till it and overlay it with straw. Powerful seedlings are necessary for producing strong plants.
Farmers water their seedlings in the spring. They spread unhulled “seed rice” grains in water until they sprout from the previous year’s harvest. They also sterilize and dry the paddy at this time, and fertilizer is sprayed once the seedlings sprout and reach a particular size.
It’s finally time to start preparing the fields for planting. Water is added, fertilizer is applied, and the ground is smoothed out. It’s critical to maintain a consistent water depth so that seedlings can be planted at the same depth. Farmers select a peaceful, warm day when the summer sun begins to shine and plant the 4-5-inch seedlings in the field.
Farmers used to do this by hand, planting each stalk one by one, but nowadays, a rice-planting machine is the norm. The seedlings take root, and new stems sprout from the buds near the root, with the rice head emerging from the stem’s buds. The bud of a flower is eventually formed in the rice ear.
Innovation and Technology
Change and development have been very evident nowadays. Japan has embraced innovations in the food industry, particularly in rice production. Cultivation, collection, drying, milling, processing, and retail have never been the same. It has reached the advancement were not just Japan as a country took advantage of it and benefited, but also its partnering countries, including the Philippines.
BiotechJP in the Philippines
Kiyosada Egawa came to the Philippines to provide and maintain new food products for Filipinos in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. In 2015, he founded BiotechJP and used his patented Plant Origin Lactic Acid Bacteria (POLAB) technology to create ready-to-eat rice products that now have the longest shelf life on the market. He also developed low-protein, high-fiber rice products for kidney and diabetic patients who need to meet their calorie needs while still living normal lives.
Aside from introducing his product to the country, he also came up with a project named Rice Revolution 21, which aims to plant and harvest Japanese rice in the Philippines. Its goal is to improve the Philippines’ ability to trade processed and well-milled rice worldwide while also raising the incomes of Filipino farmers, millers, and production operators.
BiotechJP has started a significant turning point in the agricultural industry in the Philippines. With its advanced technologies and innovations, there is no doubt that years from now, the farm industry in the country will achieve milestones and breakthroughs!