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Foundation to preserve Okinawan breed of pork set up

Date Posted: 2003-10-03

Pork meat is one of the staples in traditional Okinawan diet, and most people here eat in in one form or another almost every day. The traditional Okinawa breed of pig -- “Aguu” -- originally came from China, but it has all but disappeared, replaced by western breeds.

The only place that still breeds “aguu” is Nakijin Village. Now breeders there have set up a foundation dedicated for preserving and promoting the breed. Only 65 of the animals are left but promoters hope that that is enough to form the base for the future stock.

In order to market “aguu” pork, the foundation has registered it as its protected trademark. According to an association spokesman, the meat of “aguu” contains just one-fourth of the cholesterol normal pork has. It also contains more amino acids that are beneficial to human health. And to top it off, it has more than double the glutamate that makes it more delicious to human taste.

The foundation members started marketing “aguu” pork to exclusive hotels and restaurants in Tokyo about two years ago. “We deliver the meat to these restaurants and hotels with a certificate that guarantees that the meat is “aguu.” That enables us to fetch top price for the meat that is naturally a good incentive for breeders to invest into this brand,” Masaru Takada, the chairman of the Aguu Promotion Association said.

Nakijin Village Mayor Yoshinori Nakazato says that promoting its own brand of pork meat bodes well for the future of the community. “Myself and the village have great expectations for the future of ‘aguu.’ I will extend every support to the venture I can,” Nakazato says.

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