Traditional Rice Farming in Japan

The main stay of the Japanese diet has traditionally been rice. Many people, until recent times, only ate rice, vegetable and pickles with an occasional piece of fish, chicken or other meat. Successful rice cultivation has been a major concern throughout Japanese history because rice provided most of the calories and a good portion of the vitamins and protein required for sustenance.There are many different was to grown rice. Some ways require irrigation and others demand very little water.

Some methods require little fertilizer and other require extensive application. Some methods can be left to themselves whilst others are very labor-intensive. Almost all varieties require some protection against rodents, birds and insects. However, the highest yield is produced from the variety that requires irrigation, huge amounts of fertilizer and a great deal of labor, as well as protection against predators, especially insects.

The crop will be reduced if any of theses things are lessened.The main variables to a successful crop of rice were labor, fertilizer and irrigation. Weather conditions had to be assumed as even a good government has little control over the weather.

Also the variety of rice was important. Making sure the right strain for the local conditions was used to produce a larger crop.Irrigated rice farming follows a cycle, which is unchanging. First of all the land must be prepared.

A system of fields is built on a gradually descending slope with walls around the field so that water can be controlled and guided to the fields at the right time. This is a major task needing a large amount of capital and labor.The rice plants would have been carefully raised in beds, which receive special attention. They are then transplanted into rice paddies with even spacing allowing each plant to grow quickly to its full potential. Weeding must be done and water and fertilizer applied at regular intervals.

During fall the water is drained from the field which dries out as the plant ripens. The rice is then cut and hung out to dry until the grains are stripped from the stalks.Nothing goes to waste and the stalks are used for many things ranging from rainproof cloaks and sandals to fuel. But today some of these uses have given way to modern devices.The rice is then further processed.

The chaff and the grain are separated and then the rice is polished to remove the hard case from the softer white grain. The major part of the nutrients are found in the case so in more traditional times poor people ate the casing as well as the white kernel. They in fact benefited more than the rich who preffered the more delicious white rice.For centuries the labor input to agriculture in Japan has been very high leading to outputs per unit of land that rank amongst the highest in the world. A great deal of the labor was back-breaking with farmers having to bend over to plant seedlings, transplant the young seedlings, weed out the parasites and cut the stalks.In recent times machinery has provided much of the labor required by growing rice.

Technology has brought forward the development of machines that can harvest the rice and perform the most delicate of tasks.

.Michael Russell.

Your Independent guide to Japan.Article Source:


By: Michael Russell

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