Policy / Systems / Technology

May 6, 2003


Sasayama City Achieves Local Food Self-Sufficiency with Rice Bread in School Lunches

Keywords: Food Local government Policy / Systems 

In April 2003, Sasayama City in Hyogo Prefecture introduced rice flour bread using locally-grown Koshihikari, a rice brand with the highest acreage in Japan, into school lunches. This new type of bread will appear on the tables at 41 facilities, including public kindergartens, elementary and junior high schools as well as a school for physically-challenged children. While some local governments have introduced the bread on a trial basis, Sasayama will be the first city in Japan to have full-scale introduction.

The schools of this city were previously serving rice dishes of 100 percent locally-grown Koshihikari three days a week and wheat flour bread on the other two school days. Aiming to ensure food safety and support local agriculture, the city started examining the idea of serving bread made from local rice flour. The cost of the bread became affordable last summer, after the barrier of high processing technology cost was overcome with the technical assistance of the Kinki Rice Flour Food Proliferation and Promotion Association, or the Rice-Flour Network.

A piece of rice bread is estimated to cost 5 to 35 yen (about U.S.4 to 29 cents) higher, depending on the rice supplier, than the conventional wheat bread; however, subsidies from the city and the prefecture make the introduction possible without raising school meal fees.

Rice bread is crispy outside and chewy inside, and students' parents responded favorably during sample tasting. Starting in April, a local bakery will prepare 5,700 buns a day, consuming an estimated 38 tonnes of rice annually.

The education board of Sasayama City has successfully adopted locally-grown rice, vegetables and other products for use in school lunches. One of four school meal centers in the city has been purchasing vegetables directly from local farmers for the past 25 years, and almost 100 percent of the city's school lunches used vegetables grown within the city. After the introduction of rice bread, almost all the food ingredients in school lunches will be locally-grown. The city hopes that such efforts will help revitalize local agriculture and promote the use of rice flour nationwide.

Posted: 2003/05/06 11:26:33 AM
Japanese version