“South Korea’s strawberries were delicious!” was one of the comments from Japan’s female curling team at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. However, the seeds used to grow these strawberries were actually Japanese seeds.
This has caused a rise in interest in Japan’s ‘distribution of seeds abroad’ problem.
It’s actually said that Japan’s seed development for fruit and vegetables is one of the best in the world. Because of this, there has been a serious movement of Japanese seeds being taken out of the country.
Their target is the soft, Japanese cabbage.
The above image shows cabbage seeds and is part of a movement to try and sell Japanese seeds abroad.
You might think that all cabbages are just cabbages, but there are over a 100 different types. Spring cabbage, winter cabbage, purple cabbage – each one is a different product with different qualities.
The ones making these are known as ‘seed makers’. Colour, shape, softness – vegetables and fruits with many traits are developed and then sold to farmers.
The vegetable seeds developed in Japan are getting popular throughout the world. One of the main traits of the Japanese cabbage is the taste, as well as being soft, having disease resilience, and being suitable to eat raw.
Another trait they have is overall quality. For example, the rate of sprouting seeds is said to be much high than in other countries. The demand for seeds that sprout is fierce in Japan, while abroad, there are many seeds that won’t sprout even when planted.
Japanese Seed development goes way back.
In Tokyo, one specialist Japanese seed-maker has been operating since 1852.
While one seed maker in Ibaraki owns 400 shares in the cabbage industry and has over 1000 types in development.
With this, farmers can choose the seed that is perfect for them, whether it be taste, colour, size, or resiliency.
Trading with China and India
Working with China and India in cabbage and cucumber development, the company known as ‘Japan Vegetable Seeds’ has taken seeds to China and India and are testing and cultivating them. Aiming to cultivate enough seeds to start trading in Autumn.
If it’s seeds, then Japan can win!
Because much of the seed business (80%) is almost completely controlled by the super-corporation, Biomeasure, it is hard for small Japanese businesses to enter the market for wheat, soy, and corn seed development.
Due to the huge variety of vegetable seeds, however, there is still plenty of room for small Japanese businesses to enter the market.
And while Japan’s population is decreasing, the world population is steadily rising, increasing demand for seeds worldwide. And it’s not just the number of seeds either – with a rising amount of financially stability in the world, the demand for better and better seeds is also on the rise.