According to The Nikkei Asian Review, Japan's exports of wagyu beef are on the rise as the rest of Asia craves the marbled beef.
Wagyu exports in the January-October period jumped 18% from a year earlier to 10 billion yen (US$84.8 million).
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as other organizations expect the country's beef exports to reach 12 billion yen by the end of the year, surpassing the record 11 billion yen worth of beef exports in 2015.
Wagyu has become one of Japan's major agricultural exports. The prized beef is shipped to Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S and other countries. It is now Japan's second-largest farm export in value terms, after apples, which brought in 13.3 billion yen in the January-October period.
According to Ibaraki Prefecture's livestock industry association, exports of Hitachi wagyu beef in the April-September period topped 2,000kg, surpassing the 1,800kg logged in fiscal 2015.
A representative of a Gifu Prefecture-based Hida beef producer said wagyu sales are especially strong in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The government is now adding slaughter house capacity in an effort to meet the hygiene standards required by trade partners. The plan is to ensure that five slaughter houses meet the requirements before this fiscal year is out.
Over the next three years, Japan plans to invite some 50 overseas chefs to the country to teach them how to cook wagyu.
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