Fukushima Farmers Still Suffering from Tsunami

Nearly a year after experiencing a devastating tsunami, residents of Fukushima, Japan are still suffering from the fallout of the disaster.

On March 11, 2011, a massive tsunami struck Fukushima, devastating the city’s infrastructure, ruining farms in the area, and damaging the city’s nuclear power plant, causing a meltdown and spreading radioactive pollution across the region.

A year after the disaster, farmers across the prefecture are still struggling to recover with many farms remaining barren and production still low.

Even those farms that have recovered are still suffering from the legacy of the disaster. The damage done to Fukushima’s nuclear plant caused a meltdown, releasing radioactive cesium into the atmosphere. The cesium tainted farmland across the prefecture, causing the crops grown there to test positive for radioactive contamination. While most Fukushima produce now shows safe radiation levels, many consumers are still leery of buying agricultural goods from the region.

The disaster has dealt a heavy blow to the region’s agricultural sector, which generated annual pre-tsunami revenue of about $3.3 billion. In an effort to help speed up the recovery process, the national government has created a “Not Detected” program. Crops with safe levels of radiation can be stamped with an ND. Despite government efforts, many farmers lack faith in recovery measures and have declined to participate fully.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer