Japan’ small and family farms are disappearing, survey shows

TOKYO, July 3 — Small-scale and family farms are rapidly disappearing in Japan due to the rising number of aging farmers, while fewer young people opt for farming careers, a survey by the agriculture ministry shows.

Farm numbers fell 4.6% to 1.26 million farms in 2017 from a year earlier and overall family farms recorded a decline, down 4.8% to 1.22 million.

However, the number of corporate farms grew 5% to 22,000. In the last five years, their number has jumped 55%, reinforcing the trend of bigger and fewer farms through the government’s structural reform program.

The survey also showed the size structures of farms are changing.

Smaller holdings of less than 1 hectare fell 5.6% to 671,000 farms, those between 1 and 5 hectares dropped 4% to 481,000, and those between 5 and 10 hectares declined 3% to 49,000.

However, large holdings between 10 and 20 hectares rose 2.7% to 27,000 farms, those between 20 and 30 hectares surged 3.6% 11,000, and over 30 hectares rose 2.2% to 19,000.

Meanwhile, the average farm size grew 4.7% to 2.9 hectares.

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