Rice harvest near damaged Fukushima plant

Rice harvest near damaged Fukushima plant

Farmers have harvested rice for the first time in 7 years in an area near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

After the nuclear accident in 2011, residents in the district of Odaka in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture were ordered to evacuate.

The government lifted the evacuation order in July last year. Farmers resumed growing rice this year as safety was confirmed in experimental cultivation.

Rice cropping began on Monday using big combines in paddies with a total area of about 9 hectares.

A rice variety specially produced in Fukushima Prefecture was cultivated by an agricultural corporation established by local farming organizations.

According to the Tohoku Regional Agricultural Administration Office, this year's harvest is about average for Fukushima Prefecture.

The corporation will select the harvested rice based on its quality. The rice will be shipped after it is put to radiation tests.

The agriculture corporation president, Ryoichi Sato, said he is very happy with the first harvest in 7 years. He said the corporation will do its best to encourage more people to resume rice farming in the area.