Leading Japanese fast food chain Yoshinoya said it would grow rice and vegetables in disaster-hit Fukushima prefecture.

Yoshinoya Holdings, the chain’s owner, announced that it will produce the ingredients for its famous beef bowls in Fukushima, a region badly affected by the nuclear meltdown triggered by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Through a joint venture with local farmers, Yoshinoya will begin cultivating rice, onions and cabbages in a 4.3-hectare field in Shirakawa, 50 miles from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The produce will be used for Yoshinoya’s 1,175 restaurants across Japan.

Yoshinoya said the 10 million yen project is aimed at boosting the region’s nascent recovery after the devastation forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes due to radiation fears.

Farmers have struggled against consumers’ fears over the safety of crops and products from Fukushima. The region’s fishing industry was also badly hit by contamination concerns from leaks at the nuclear plant.

“We believe this will lead to support for reconstruction,” Yoshinoya said in a statement, adding strict radiation screening measures will be put in place.

Tokyo Electric Power Co admitted last month that tons of contaminated water had begun to leak from storage tanks at the Fukushima plant into the sea.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered Tepco to decommission all six reactors at the plant to focus efforts on containing the spill. Japan said it has also accepted help from France to dismantle the damaged reactors at Fukushima.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image: Sebra / Shutterstock.com