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Japan's farming industry faces falling demand, labor shortage

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Japan's Agriculture policy is flawed, it's propped up with subsidies and can't sustain itself. The average age of farmers is above the retirement age, younger people interested in farming with new and exciting ideas hit a brick wall. It's a self made disaster that demands more tax payer dollars just to survive, rather then change into a dynamic profit making industry.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

 younger people interested in farming with new and exciting ideas hit a brick wall.

If you have time, could you elaborate on this?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Yes I can, growing crops not on the JA list, incurres penalties. Blocking both sales of product and reducing choice for consumers. Go to another country supermarket and it's amazing the choice you have, go to any Japanese supermarket it's all the same limited choice. We need young farmers to produce products that they enjoy growing and customers enjoy a choice.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Vegetarian here. All’s safe.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I've heard it being reported before that the lack of school meals has reduced demand for produce. This baffles me though - does this mean that those children aren't getting any meals at home instead?? At the same rate that school meal producers lost business sales quantities in grocery stores and supermarkets as well as their suppliers should have gone up.

If that really wasn't the case then this should be taken as a serious warning sign about poverty...

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Hey, I wouldn't mind working at a farm in the countryside instead of working as an ALT. It's not a glamorous job but at least you're doing something that really does benefit a lot of people.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

I’m of the opposite view.Advances in hydroponics and computer controlled robotics will revolutionize farming here.

Also, selling to JA is not the only option.

For the enterprising farmer it’s a great time!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Hey, I wouldn't mind working at a farm in the countryside instead of working as an ALT. It's not a glamorous job but at least you're doing something that really does benefit a lot of people.

Even ALT work pays more though. The agricultural sector is overly dependent on exploiting migrants to keep costs down as part of the 'trainee' program

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan passed an amended

what's an 'amended'?

JefferyK,

The schools throw away a lot of food. Even if the kids eat all the food on their plate, there’s still a lot left in the bins.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Farmers here in my area are small organic farms. The grow too much. Problem is distributing. They are old.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

GOOD FARMING must be kept.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

while the government's travel restrictions over the virus prevented the entry of foreign interns to Japan, resulting in a shortfall of labor in the sector, the white paper said.

Foreign interns or foreign slave labor.?

Intern in the true sense of the word is never counted as labor but as a trainee. Well I guess it is the Japanese model.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is anything in Japan going well?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are the final three paragraphs from a different article?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

School lunches are planned by dietitians and will include more local produce . For the vast majority of kids, school lunch will be healthier than the yakisoba or whatever they get at home at lunchtime. Its fairly common for families to slack off and have something convenient during the day, even if they have healthy food in the evening.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The agricultural sector is overly dependent on exploiting migrants to keep costs down as part of the 'trainee' program

Show me proof that immigrant farm workers are underpaid or even exploited in Japan.

In Australia with the abuse of the working holiday system there have been multiple cases of abuse, exploitation and even rape.

America and many other countries (the Gulf States) have an appalling record concerning immigrant labour.

I live in Sendai and sail out of Shiogama port. I have constant contact with migrant workers from Indonesia, China and Vietnam who are working in the seafood processing and fishing industries.

They are paid the standard wage for 5 days a week and overtime when the work load builds up.

Their accommodation is better in many cases than at home.

Yes, everything is not rosy, there are rip-offs and injuries for example, but a blanket statement that immigrant labour is exploited is something that you have made up in your mind and believe.

Again, Show me proof that immigrant farm workers are underpaid or even exploited in Japan.

gary

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In our little corner of Hyogo farming is healthy with young and old, male and female. Teenagers. The fields are well managed with a sharing of labor especially with the rice planting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why Im not surprised. Foreign internes when come to Japan and see inequality dont to do it long-time. Salary lower than their Japanese counterparts straight from school or without school, no bonuses while their Japanese counterparts are having 2-4 bonuses a year.

Great country with great opportunities.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes I can, growing crops not on the JA list, incurres penalties. Blocking both sales of product and reducing choice for consumers.

Thanks. I ask because I have been looking at land. I do know some people growing unusual crops, but perhaps they work outside JA. Land is so cheap in places, and there is a market for new products. The demand is driven by chefs and restaurants, but people will slowly catch on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thanks. I ask because I have been looking at land. I do know some people growing unusual crops, but perhaps they work outside JA. Land is so cheap in places, and there is a market for new products. The demand is driven by chefs and restaurants, but people will slowly catch on.

If you want to be part of the JA system, then you sort of have to sell your soul to the devil. You buy everything you need from the JA, including the various chemicals. You have to use what they tell you to use. Even the size and shape of your vegetables. In return they buy your produce.

But you can grow independently of the JA and find your own outlets.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yep JA is a PLAGUE on agriculture in Japan for sure.

Another huge issue is land ownership, it is seriously messed up & many farmers with no family to pass their spread out tiny plots is loath to sell to outsiders.

I cant figure out what the hell the govt is thinking as it relates to agriculture, seems like they are waiting till the last farmer in Japan passes & then maybe they will start ""brain storming""...…...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JeffreyKJune 18  05:03 pm JST

I've heard it being reported before that the lack of school meals has reduced demand for produce. This baffles me though - does this mean that those children aren't getting any meals at home instead?? At the same rate that school meal producers lost business sales quantities in grocery stores and supermarkets as well as their suppliers should have gone up.

If that really wasn't the case then this should be taken as a serious warning sign about poverty...

Japan Inc needs to step it up now and make sure people are eating and remaining healthy. The big commercial sales to schools, hotels, business are down due to C19. The food model has changed and Japan needs to change with it instead of just throwing the food away etc. =Food programs for young, old, and Alts having difficulty for the time being.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The country's food security is only 40%. 30 years ago, it was 60%.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Cricky very good ideas all around! I mean I know very little about the Japanese farming industry, but all the ideas that you propose make a lot of sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi

the country's food security is only 40%

So what? "food security" is a bogus concept and needs to be scrapped. It's based on the assumption that in a geo-political crisis, Japan would be starved of food supplies from overseas. The current crisis, the worst since the war, is a case in point: there were no shortages. Foreign food came flooding in and shelves only went empty temporarily because of panic buying by the well-fed public. The notable shortage that did occur - toilet paper - was for a product produced entirely domestically.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I feel for the flower growers as their loss of business is a result of government action to force schools and retailers to close. They need some government cash. Except for strawberry growers the rest of Japan is stuck in 19th century agriculture trying to compete in the 21st century. The best things the government could do is to wind up JA, slash all the red tape and invest in GMO and CRISPR- CAS 9 technologies.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Vietnam and Thailand travel restrictions eased ... not a coincidence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regardless of the Corona Virus problem, I certainly wish and hope that more Japanese youths will be motivated to keep Japan's agricultural industry alive and if possible increase and grow. I have visited a few countries and have worked with and met people and chefs from all over the world as a hotel manager. All have expressed their admiration of the quality and reliability of the the farm products from Japan, specifically pointing to the "reliability" of the safety, quality and the "care" by the farmers for the land as well as the methods used. Freshness they said they could get any where, but the overall "quality" and "reliability" they have all said, is difficult to surpass that of Japan.

I personally encourage and Japanese farmers and the young who have the future in mind find ways to keep it going and if possible "increase" and not "decrease" production as well as quality. Include in it aquaculture and any other methods using science and technology available today. Help in creating ways in which families can in their homes and apartments also produce vegetables and fruits using innovative in-house aquaculture systems so that in cases such as another pandemic, one may survive with products produced at home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Falling demand because prices too high. If farmers make prices like other countries then demand will surely go up. Cut the necessary middlemen and things will be O.K.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Farmers don't set the prices of produce, the JA does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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