Restoring agriculture and food sector aftermath of Great Tohoku and Fukushima disasters in Japan
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Restoring agriculture and food sector aftermath of Great Tohoku and Fukushima disasters in Japan

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This thought notes talks about measures required to kick-start the agriculture in the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Fukushima related radiation release affected areas with special emphasis on radiation ...

This thought notes talks about measures required to kick-start the agriculture in the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Fukushima related radiation release affected areas with special emphasis on radiation safety while considering the other forms of damages such as salinity and physical damage to the agriculture infrastructure. The strategy is in essence to restore public and industry trust on the agriculture and food industry through instituting various measures that include developing close ties between civil and nuclear authorities, integrating nuclear safety information into the civil disaster risk reduction strategies, and making sure that the existing food and agriculture certification systems to consider radiation safety.

Suggested citation: Prabhakar S.V.R.K. 2011. Fitting the Radiation Safety Piece into the Jigsaw Puzzle : Restoring Agriculture and Food Sector Aftermath the Great Tohoku and Fukushima Disasters. Presented to the Disaster Management Project Team, 25 August 2011, Hayama, Japan

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  • A: refers to areas with all forms of impacts: salinization, radiation and physical damageB: refers to areas with physical damage and radiationC: Refers to areas with salinization and radiationD: refers to areas with salinization and physical damageE, F, G refers to areas only with radiation, physical damage, and salinization respectively.
  • Remediation may not be possible in areas with high radiation contamination and where cost considerations limit pursuing such options.Remediation may be possible in areas with relatively low radiation contamination and where cost considerations doesn’t limit pursuing such options.

Restoring agriculture and food sector aftermath of Great Tohoku and Fukushima disasters in Japan Restoring agriculture and food sector aftermath of Great Tohoku and Fukushima disasters in Japan Presentation Transcript

  • Fitting the Radiation Safety Piece into the Jigsaw Puzzle : Restoring Agriculture and Food Sector Aftermath the Great Tohoku and Fukushima Disasters
    A Thought Notes for Comments
    SVRK Prabhakar
    Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Hayama, Japan
    August 2011
    Suggested citation: Prabhakar S.V.R.K. 2011. Fitting the Radiation Safety Piece into the Jigsaw Puzzle : Restoring Agriculture and Food Sector Aftermath the Great Tohoku and Fukushima Disasters. Presented to the Disaster Management Project Team, 25 August 2011, Hayama, Japan
    1
  • Important questions being asked
    Agriculture & food specific
    What measures are required to kick-start the agriculture and food sector in the affected areas?
    How to ensure safe agriculture and food supply from and within these regions?
    From emergency management perspective:
    To what extent the civil and nuclear safety authorities are connected at the local level (or how best they can be strengthened)?
    What is the level of radiation safety preparedness in prefectures with nuclear power plants? [What level of changes happened in these prefectures before and after the Fukushima?]
    From the cognitive and behavioral perspective:
    How people perceive and rate different aspects of responses by various agencies aftermath of Tohoku and Fukushima and what these perceptions mean for the systems in question?
    2
  • Broad Category of Measures Needed: Immediate and Long-term
    Immediate measures:
    Initiate damage assessment and decision support systems
    Establish Agricultural and Food Restoration Committees at all levels
    Make available information on immediate ‘deployability’ of agriculture in the affected areas (how-soon, how-far, how many, and how farmers can get to their normal lives)
    Enhanced insurance payouts and other relief measures
    Long-term measures:
    Strengthening Institutional systems (and farmer support systems)
    Strengthening capacity across the spectrum of stakeholders involved in food production and distribution chain
    Introduction of policies to enable the above
    3
  • Initiate Damage Assessment and Decision Support Systems
    Impacts of the triple-disaster:
    Salinization of vast agricultural land along the Northeast coast of Japan
    Radiation contamination in areas near Fukushima nuclear power plant
    Damage to irrigation and other related agricultural infrastructure due to the earthquake and tsunami
    G
    C
    D
    A
    B
    E
    F
    4
  • Measures for Damage Assessment for DSS
    Initiate measures to identify and quantify areas and impacts related to radiation, salinization and physical damage (this step spans from short to medium term but should be initiated at early stages of disaster management).
    Damage assessment teams at village and city levels.
    Self-assessment forms wherever possible and through websites if the nature of damage allow.
    Remote sensing for estimating salinity/Systems to collect soil samples for checking radiation and salinity levels.
    Livelihood and skill mapping: to identify means of livelihood diversification for farmers who cannot farm sooner (or never).
    5
  • Agricultural and Food Restoration Committees and Guidelines
    Consist of an agricultural technology expert (preferably from a research center or university), radiological food health specialist, and JAs, local administrative representatives. Committees at local level can have farmer representatives.
    Would have to be established at the national, provincial (ken) and district (gun) levels anchored within the agricultural department of the prefectural governments and the Ministry of Agriculture at the national level.
    Able to engage experts on specific subject matters (e.g. salinity, infrastructure engineers, radiation safety etc) as the need may arise.
    Will assist governments at relevant levels in formulating plans for relief and rehabilitation of agriculture and food.
    Will come up with guidelines and procedural details for farmers for rejuvenating the agricultural activities and to avail various policy provisions that government has provided for them.
    6
  • Re-deploying Agriculture in Areas with No or Safe Radiation Levels
    Salinity could be a potential limitation in these areas. Classify areas with various degree of salinity
    Areas with low salinity
    Introduce saline tolerant rice varieties/sugar beet/soybeans
    Areas with medium salinity
    Provide support for reclamation (scraping, leaching, flushing as has been done in Iraq and Australia)
    Introduce saline tolerant rice varieties
    Areas with high salinity
    Assess feasibility for reclamation (in addition application of gypsum)
    If no reclamation is feasible, Halophytes can provide alternative here (Science, 2008)
    7
  • Re-deploying Agriculture in Areas with High Radiation Levels
    More difficult to restore than areas affected with salinity and hence due care should be taken in finalizing plans for restoration in these areas.
    Where remediation is not feasible:
    Consider using land for alternative purposes such as wind-mills, solar power fields etc.
    Establishment of ‘sanctuaries’ in areas with relatively low radiation levels.
    Permanent compensation packages to farmers and others affected due to evacuation and loss of livelihood
    Where remediation is feasible:
    Initiate procedures for phytoremediation and related reclamation procedures.
    Continuous monitoring of radiation levels for timely restoration of permissible activities.
    8
  • The role of JA (nōgyōkyōdōkumiai)
    Strengthen its own staff to provide suitable skills and knowledge to farmers on farming under saline conditions, phytoremediation etc.
    Participate and contribute to Agriculture and Food Restoration Committees
    Hazen insurance payments to those farmers who obtained crop insurance through JA and associated agencies.
    Assess its post-disaster performance and establish its own internal standard operating procedures for quicker response to similar events in the future.
    Assist agriculture extension centers to disseminate necessary information and skills to farmers for restoration.
    9
  • Extension Centers and Agriculture Departments
    Strengthen local extension agencies including/in consultation with Japan Agricultural Development and Extension Association (JADEA).
    Assess its post-disaster performance and establish standard operating procedures to handle similar events in the future.
    Conduct livelihood/skill mapping to assist farmers to diversity livelihoods etc.
    10
  • Communities
    • Dissemination of necessary radiation safety information to communities (jichikai), integration with the civil disaster management planning, mock-drills, and other activities carried out as a part of ‘Disaster Countermeasures Basic Act’ [e.g. Integrate radiation hazard and response procedures into community level disaster management plans and response procedures including earthquake emergency kits].
    Display of relevant SOPs and standards in community halls where jichikai and other community members meet on regular basis.
    Disseminate appropriate FAQs to bust myths and misperceptions related to radiation safety.
    11
  • Prefectural and National Level Interventions
    Agriculture and Food Specific Interventions:
    Assess the health impacts of indices proposed by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan and integrate the same into the Food Safety Standards of Japan.
    Integrate radiation standards into major food certifications offered in the country in consultation with Japan Agricultural Standards Association (JAS)
    Review and modify HACCP and TQM standards to accommodate related radiation safety considerations.
    Establish regulations for screening and certification procedures for radiation safety in food.
    Mandatory display of radiation levels in food in retail stores through labeling.
    Mandatory certification of farms for radiation safety in areas affected by radiation.
    12
  • Cont…
    Agriculture and food-specific
    Move from the primary responsibility of individual food vendors to check and report radiation safety towards legally binding and compulsory monitoring and reporting procedures.
    Establish sufficient radiation safety testing equipment for food.
    Wide dissemination of food safety information to all citizens and lower level response personnel for better decision making .
    13
  • Cont…
    Generic interventions:
    Assess radiation hazard preparedness learning from the Tohoku incident and strengthen the gaps.
    Greater connectivity between civil and radiation safety authorities for better radiation safety preparedness. This should be the priority at the prefectural and local levels and especially in those prefectures where nuclear power plants operate.
    Assess its post-disaster performance and establish standard operating procedures to handle similar events in the future for all relevant civil emergency management agencies.
    14
  • Thank You
    Please write your comments to sivapuram.prabhakar@gmail.com
    15