Japan to import less food wheat in 2012-13

Reuters / Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest wheat importer, plans to buy 6.5 per cent less foreign food wheat in the year to March 2013 in anticipation of higher local production, helped by government initiatives to lift food self-sufficiency.

A panel of experts approved a plan March 28 by the Ministry of Agriculture to buy 4.78 million tonnes of foreign wheat for milling use in 2012-13, compared with the 2011-12 plan for 5.11 million tonnes.

Japan, which keeps a tight grip on wheat imports, sets an import target annually to supplement local crops, and buys foreign wheat via tenders and sells to users at prices revised every six months based on purchase costs.

Japan’s lower wheat import estimate came at a time when the world has a surplus of supply due to healthy harvests in major producing countries.

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