Support for planting sweet potato seedlings for making shochu at the terraced rice fields in Toho-mura, Fukuoka prefecture


In August 2020, FCO・OP participated in the planting of sweet potato seedlings for making sweet potato shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit in the terraced paddy fields in Toho-mura, Fukuoka prefecture, which was damaged by the July 2017 Torrential Rain in Northern Kyushu.

Terraced paddy fields are rice terraces created in stair-like tiers along the slope of a mountain or a valley. In Toho-mura, there are about 400 terraced rice fields with a history of more than 400 years. Among them, the terraced paddy fields in the 'Take Area' are remarkably well formed and preserved, and in July 1999, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries certified it as one of Japan's 100 Best Terraced Rice Fields.

"Terraced rice fields in the Take area" certified as one of the 100 best rice terraces in Japan

However, the terraced rice fields were severely damaged by the July 2017 Torrential Rain, with some of them covered with sand and driftwood. Restoration work was being advanced, however, the decrease in the number of producers due to aging and the increase in farmland abandonment due to unseasonable weather became new challenges to continue production. From 2019, in Toho-mura, for the maintenance of the farmland, the young people started the "Sweet Potato Shochu Project in the Take Area" to brew and sell shochu made from sweet potatoes grown in terraced paddy fields, rice malt, and spring water selected as one of the "Top 100 Waters of the Heisei Era".  As part of its support for the project, FCO・OP participated in the planting of sweet potato seedlings. The potatoes will be used as the raw material for shochu which will be released for sale next spring at FCO・OP and other stores.

Planting sweet potato seedlings

In March 2020, FCO・OP signed a "Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement" with Toho-mura. Under this agreement, Toho-mura and FCO・OP will continue to promote the revitalization of the area through close cooperation and collaboration in various fields, such as retailing local products and improving the service of delivering products to the residents of the area.

A local cuisine served on a Koishiwara ware plate and sweet potato shochu "Toho" produced in Toho-mura

tags: Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement, supports for project, Sweet Potato Shochu Project