May 23, 2017
Tokyo- The number of agricultural corporations in Japan more than doubled over the last 10 years, while the number of family farmers fell due chiefly to the aging population, an annual government report showed Tuesday.
An increasing number of young farmers have been employed by agricultural corporations, the fiscal 2016 white paper said, explaining changes in the management structure of Japan's agriculture in the past decade.
The number of agricultural corporations grew to 18,857 in 2015, about 2.2 times the 8,700 in 2005, according to the report, adopted at a cabinet meeting.
Agricultural corporations' sales accounted for 27.3 pct of overall farm product sales in Japan in 2015, up from 15.4 pct in 2005.
The number of farmers hired by such corporations under contracts of seven months or longer doubled to 104,285. Those aged 44 or younger accounted for 47 pct of them.
The report listed 13 specific farm reform issues, including cuts in costs for procuring equipment and materials for agricultural production and the liberalization of raw milk distribution, which were both decided by a government panel last November.
The report underlined the need for legislative measures in order to deal with structural problems that cannot be solved with efforts by farmers alone.
It stressed that the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, or JA-Zennoh, needs to review its current mechanisms of buying equipment and materials for sale to member farmers and of selling agricultural products collected from them to intermediate wholesalers.
The government will check progress on reform in the agriculture sector periodically, the report said. (Jiji Press)
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