26 Mar '11, 10pm

Tsunami-hit rice farmers face challenges in Japan

Tsunami-hit rice farmers face challenges in Japan

Rice farmer Kikuo Endo looks out what used to be his rice fields in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. -- PHOTO: AP SENDAI - THE rice paddies on the outskirts of this tsunami-hit city are ankle-deep in a black, salty sludge. Crumpled cars and uprooted trees lie scattered across them. His house destroyed, rice farmer Shinichi Shibasaki lives on a square of blue tarp on the top floor of a farming cooperative office with others like him. He has one set of soiled clothes. But all he can think about is getting back to work. 'If we start washing the soil out now, we can start growing our rice seedlings at the end of April at a different location, and plant them here a month later,' the 59-year-old says. That may prove overly optimistic, but agriculture experts - as well as Indonesian farmers hit by a tsunami in 2004 - say a quick recovery is possible, maybe within a year. A key factor w...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STISt...

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