Kagawa's rare sugar project involves a wide range of people, and is not limited just to researchers.
The Miki Rare Sugar Research and Training Center
Rare sugars are seldom found in nature, and the only trees known to have them are iteas, also known as sweetspires.
Now, with the cooperation of people in the community, an effort is underway to promote itea. The initiative is receiving a great deal of attention as a regional revitalization effort.
Collaborative efforts by industry, academia, and government to grow itea received the Honorable Mention for Policy at the 2017 Hometown Product of the Year Awards.
What are the Hometown Product of the Year Awards?
An awards system that supports products vital to regional futures, as well as efforts to market those products (domestically or internationally) and popularize the region. The awards system, which is government-recognized, does so by raising awareness of little-known regional products and the histories and efforts that support them.
The project distributed hydrocultured itea seedlings as a teaching resource to elementary and middle school students in the prefecture.
Itea efforts were selected for the Kagawa Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry Support Fund in 2015.
High school students study rare sugar and compete in the Rare Sugar Koshien Competition.
The competition is not simply a presentation of research. It is an educational program that includes research meetings and remote feedback, as well as panel discussions after presenting.
The event is held every year to develop the next generation of rare sugar researchers.
10th Rare Sugar Koshien Summary (2016)