【News】 Japanese agricultural co-op group calls for legal grounds to give itself a new role (Nov. 7, 2014)


The Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-Zenchu) on Thursday, Nov. 6, decided on specific measures for self-reform, including clarifying functions of central and prefectural unions and stating them in the Agricultural Co-operative Society Law.

The self-reform plan says central and prefectural unions should be tasked with three roles – representing and advising primary JAs and working as a liaison among them – and stating them in the law so that the unions will be legally responsible for the tasks.

The plan states the group’s basic goals are increasing farmers’ income and agricultural production and revitalizing local areas, and calls for creation of 100 billion-yen, five-year program to support primary JAs.

The plan was compiled by the JA-Zenchu’s advisory panel, which began discussing the issue in August and came up with an interim report on Oct. 24. The JA-Zenchu will call on the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to adopt the plan when they put together by the yearend a bill to revise the Agricultural Co-operative Society Law.

Under the current system, primary JAs’ articles are uniformly restricted by unions based on the law, but the plan proposes such a control should be abolished and that primary JAs be given the right to set up unions on their own will.

The plan also says agricultural co-ops should work not only as craft unions specifically for farmers but also as regional unions to support local communities, and suggests that such a function be included in the law.

The plan states the JA group’s sales and procurement business should be shifted to the system of responding to various requests by its members. It also says its board of directors should have more agricultural corporations as members, as well as women and young people. It suggests inviting sales and management experts for advice.

It says a central-level program to support primary JAs should be created with the budget of 100 billion yen in the five years until fiscal 2018, in order to finance primary JAs’ businesses including farm machine leasing, business consulting and offering financial assistance to farms which train people wanting to start farming.

As for the issue of incorporating the National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations (JA Zen-Noh), the JA-Zenchu said the decision should be made based on the consensus among the representative members, adding that the JA group will continue discussing the possible impact of the federation not becoming subject to exemption from antitrust laws.

Gist JA group

(Nov. 7, 2014)

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