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Japanese firm finds niche in pre-cooked rice for New Normal lifestyle

A Japanese company said demand for ready-to-eat and pre-cooked rice will likely grow because of the changes in people’s lifestyle brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and frequent natural disasters.

BiotechJp Corp (BTJP), a manufacturer of packed rice using low-protein rice technology, has established a new factory in the Philippines in Tarlac Province. The factory has a daily production capacity of 20,000 rice packs and will help BTJP meet the demand of a growing market for packed rice.

“For markets like Japan, the pandemic prompted an increase for packed rice products which is also fueled by consumers resorting to online platforms for convenience and safety.” said Mr. EGAWA Kiyosada, President of BTJP.

Under its Partnership with the Private Sector scheme, JICA supported BTJP in introducing low-protein rice technology in the Philippines to address the growing cases of chronic kidney diseases (CKDs) in the country. The low-protein rice technology helps delay progression of CKD and consequently reduces the costs of medical treatments of patients.

The technology is also able to bring benefits to Filipino farmers by adding value to their rice products, according to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Apart from the low-protein rice, BTJP has also introduced other variants such as ready-to-eat packed rice with a one-year shelf life that makes it ideal for emergency situations.

This year, back-to-back typhoons and torrential rains left thousands of Filipinos in Bicol, Metro Manila, Rizal, Cagayan, Isabela, and other parts of the country without access to basic goods, relying on stocked food supplies and emergency relief packages.

“The JICA Partnership with the Private Sector initiative was intended to share innovations from Japanese companies to help address development problems in our partner countries,” said JICA Philippines Senior Representative OHSHIMA Ayumu. “There are 73 projects which have been implemented with Philippine counterparts to help create jobs and find solutions to common problems in the country, while expanding their business. It’s a win-win relationship.”

The BTJP project in Tarlac is part of the Rice Revolution 21 program that aims to develop the province’s rice supply chain and is also a partnership with the Yuchengco Group, PhilRice, and Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).

The JICA Partnership with the Private Sector scheme began in 2012 and has been supporting technology transfer, human resource development, and job creation in different parts of the Philippines. The scheme covers areas such as environment, agriculture, disaster management, education, and welfare.