【Research】Present state of Japanese agriculture and future prospect for agricultural structure: Detailed picture seen in 2015 Agricultural Census

September 1st, 2017
Norinchukin Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Basic Research Division
SHIMIZU Tetsuro, Director-General Manager


Agricultural structure policies of Japan have been implemented until today on the basis of a fundamental policy for developing “efficient and stable agriculture management”, which was announced in a long-term vision of agricultural policy for the 21st century, named the “New Direction of Food, Agricultural and Rural Policy” of 1992 as well as in the “Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas Basic Act” enacted in 1999. The purpose of this paper is not only to reveal real conditions of Japan’s agriculture primarily by referring to results of the 2015 Census of Agriculture and Forestry, but also to give consideration to the future prospect of its agricultural structure.

In the five years from 2010, agriculture management entities decreased by nearly 20 percent. On the other hand, both of organized agriculture management entities and corporation management entities have been increasing. Simultaneously, consolidation of farmlands to large-scale agriculture management entities and community-based farm management corporations has been in progress. Although the population mainly engaged in farming and household members engaged in farming have both declined remarkably, not only beginning farmers who joined agriculture after leaving their non-agricultural occupations or returning to their hometowns, but also permanent workers employed by various types of agriculture management entities continue to increase.

In a rice farming sector of Japan, some of agriculture management entities are expanding their management scales since other small-scale rice producers have increasingly retired from farming. “Certified farmers”, including organized agriculture management entities, whose five-year plans to improve their farm management have been “certified” by their respective municipal governments providing those farmers with financial and other policy supports prior to other farmers, have increased their share in the total rice planted area to 40.9 percent. Meanwhile, rice farming management entities with planted acreage of less than 1 hectare still constitute as much as 70 percent of the total rice farming management entities in the country.

The number of farm households is expected to further decline. Consolidation of farmlands cultivated by small farmers to larger agriculture management entities will also be promoted for years to come. However, these larger management entities are already being confronted with challenges of how to facilitate more aggregation of farmlands in the consolidation projects as well as how to secure labor force necessary for farm works. Japan’…Link reading

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