Japan’s young farmers say they want to talk with consumers via SNS and face-to-face to build strong followings

Panelists discussing how to build strong followings (on February 22, 2023, in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture)

Panelists discussing how to build strong followings (on February 22, 2023, in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture)

CHIBA, Feb. 22 – On February 22, 2023, the National Council of Agricultural Cooperative Youth Associations of Japan (JA Zenseikyo) held a panel discussion in Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, on the secrets of creating fans of agriculture. Four panelists exchanged ideas on how to boost the number of fans and supporters of domestic agricultural and livestock products to pass domestic agriculture on to the next generation. They all agreed on the importance of using social networking sites (SNS) to encourage direct conversations with consumers.

Harumi Sato, a Japanese model having approximately 460,000 followers on her Instagram, joined the discussion as a guest panelist. Three other panelists were Yasuyuki Yagisawa, the leader of the Youth Group of a local agricultural cooperative in Tochigi Prefecture (JA Shionoya) and a third-generation NohTuber (“Noh” means agriculture in Japanese) who acts on AgrinCh YouTube channel; Masataka Inamura, deputy chairman of JA Zenseikyo; and Keisuke Yako, director of JA Zenseikyo.

Sato stressed the importance of expressing the fun of agriculture to make their SNS popular. “Fun information catches the eye of many people,” she said. SNS can encourage conversations with consumers and make more people understand what difficulties farmers have and how hard it is to set the right prices for agricultural and livestock products, she continued.

Yagisawa said his YouTube channel became a great opener and created links between him and consumers. The green chive grower wore a green shirt, a green cap, and green everything in his YouTube movies. That successively made him a popular figure in the town as “Nira Ojisan (Uncle Green Chives)” or “Midori no Hito (Green Man),” and boosted his sales. “Making the first step is important,” he said.

Keisuke Yako emphasized the value of face-to-face interaction with consumers. The konjac grower has less opportunity to meet consumers. So, he joins agricultural events like farmers’ festivals and markets to have more conversations with consumers.

“It’s us to show people that agriculture is fun, and that way, we can build strong followings,” said Inamura to conclude the event.

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