Two weeks after the devastating 9.0 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear energy disaster struck Japan, the countries of the world continue to assess the impact. As the dust settles, it is clear thousands of people were killed and billions of dollars in damage was done by Mother Nature. It remains to be seen how much food and fuel the ravaged island nation will need in the coming months.
According to USDA, only days after the disaster, Japan was still buying corn and soybeans at rates higher than one year ago. Japan is the largest importer of U.S. corn.
There also appears to be less damage to Japanese rice production than originally estimated. The quake and tsunami are believed to have affected only 2 percent of the nation's rice acreage. And no rice had been planted prior to the natural disaster.
After a shock last week, U.S. commodity prices for pork and beef have bounced-back. The United States Meat Export Federation, a non-profit federally funded trade association, is sending pork to help feed the nearly half-million Japanese forced from their homes. Officials with USMEF also believe consumer demand for U.S. meat products will remain strong. Japan is the largest buyer of U.S. pork and the third largest buyer of U.S. beef.
Officials with the U.S. Grains Council say only four of the 14 ports that receive grain and processed feed were damaged badly enough by the tsunami to be shut-down. Despite the devastation, the remaining shipping has been redirected to other ports around the island nation.
Grains Council officials also feel little damage was done to Japanese animal production. While power and fuel are in short supply Japan's livestock industry may completely recover in four to six weeks.
And, according to the grain export promotion group, sufficient repairs will be made to Japanese infrastructure by the end of April to get the Asian super powers' economy moving again.