Thursday, December 18, 2014

japan's butter shortage and climate change

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

Elaine Kurtenbach, a reporter for the Associated Press in Tokyo, says climate change and an aging farming industry have led to the butter crisis. (Here's her Thursday story for the AP.)

"The weather up in Hokkaido, which is the main dairy region in Japan, is getting very hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, so the cows are stressed, and they don't produce enough milk," Kurtenbach tells NPR's Audie Cornish on All Things Considered. "And on top of that, the average age of farmers is about 70 now, and not many young people want to do the work." npr

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