Safe and secure, egg of poultry grown with rice "Kotama"
What is Komama?
In order to increase the self-sufficiency rate of poultry feed, Tokiwa Poultry Farm in Aomori Prefecture produces rice for feed by utilizing local arable land, and sells chicken eggs grown by blending the rice for the feed as "Komama".
Even feed rice can make delicious eggs.
More than 90% of chicken eggs and about 70% of chicken are domestic. Nevertheless, 90% of poultry feed, mainly corn, is dependent on imports. In recent years, it has become difficult to ensure the stability of imported grain feed by the development of high oil prices and biofuels, the need for domestic production of feed is increasing. Therefore, it is rice poultry for feed that feed rice with a high self-sufficiency rate is attracting attention.
At the Tokiwa Village Poultry Farming Cooperative (Tokiwa Poultry) in Fujisaki-cho, Aomori Prefecture, which breeds about 40,000 birds, we focused on the increasing number of arable land in Aomori Prefecture, produced rice for feed in arable land, and if we could ensure the stability of domestic feed, we thought that it would lead to an improvement in the self-sufficiency rate of feed and the revitalization of local agriculture. In the fall, the harvest exceeded expectations of about 1 ton, opening up the possibility of producing rice for feed in the prefecture.
"Komama", an egg of chicken bred with 75% feed made from domestic ingredients, including rice for feed
Needless to say, compared to chickens that are bred in conventional feed, the quality of the egg, the taste is reduced, it does not consist as a business. Therefore, the association verified whether it was possible to make delicious eggs with harvested feed rice for 150 birds. The corn that had been blended about 60% in the feed so far, at the same time to replace all feed rice, was bred in the old-fashioned breeding method "flat".
A few months later, very good results were revealed. The spawning is going well, the eggs are light, but they are rich, the yolks are beautiful lemon yellow, and the taste and nutrition are not comparable to the eggs grown with corn. Rather, the color could be seen as an opportunity to provide new value to consumers.
Chicken eggs grown in feed rice are characterized by whitish yolks.
Persuading farmers to increase production of rice for feed
In 2007, the company decided to make the project commercially based, with a grant. With the cooperation of three farmers, five varieties, including "Moutshole" and "Beko Aoba," were produced on 1.5 hectares of arable land and 400 birds were raised. In October of the same year, the company began full-scale business and started selling "Tokiwa's Brown Rice Eggs and Komama" by entrusting it to department stores and local direct sales offices in the prefecture for 600 yen for 6 packs.
It was a project that seemed to be going well, but when we tried to expand the production scale of rice for feed, the problem of persuading cooperating farmers emerged. It was the pride of rice farmers that became the wall. There was a great resistance to making rice that does not enter the mouth of the person for the rice farmer in the region which was able to focus on making delicious rice though it was troubled by the cold damage.
Such a farmer walked around one by one with the section chief of the town agriculture administration section, and explained the future of the rice poultry for feed. In 2008, we succeeded in increasing the number of cooperative farmers to 15 units, and the planting scale expanded to 15 hectares. On the other hand, the facilities of the chicken house were also expanded. Cage owners were also taken in, and the scale was expanded to 1500 birds.
We also actively worked to expand distribution routes. In May of the same year, we received a sales request from the Pal System Co-op Association and sold it on the Internet for a limited time. 480 yen for 6 pieces, limited sale of 60 packs per week by joint purchase. Because of the good taste and "reassurance" of the taste, there were fixed customers, and it was sold out every week because of its excellent reputation. As this reputation spreads, inquiries have increased, and it is currently sold nationwide, mainly through mail order.
The business is growing steadily, partly because of the understanding of consumers. In 2009, rice for feed was planted on 37.5 hectares. In the future, the Tokiwa Poultry Group will be motivated to grow all 450,000 chickens in feed rice.
There are still challenges. The first is the price, and the market price of 100 yen per piece is more than three times that of a regular egg. In the future, the company plans to reduce production costs and aim to lower prices by 50 yen per unit in the future.
In addition, Based on the belief that the production of rice for feed will lead to the revitalization of the region and even Japan, Tokiwa Poultry is vigorously promoting the "Kodma Project," an activity to promote rice poultry for feed. Mr. Naoshi Ishizawa, the head of the association, took the lead in accepting visits and lectures by rice farmers. If rice for feed becomes popular, rice ears will return to the arable field, and rice farmers will be activated. Livestock companies that use rice as feed will be activated, consumers will be pleased with high-value-added eggs, and the distribution of feed grains that have flowed overseas will have a high economic impact. We actively participate in events and exhibitions to promote understanding and sales of consumers, and are promoting PR.