TOKYO, April 23. ― JA Group and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are signing a new partnership agreement on the initiatives to provide agricultural support to developing countries in Asia. The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU) is going to act as a liaison office for agricultural cooperatives (JAs) all over Japan, while JICA is going to be a liaison office for developing countries. The two will then dispatch JA workers and young farmers to the countries needing agricultural aid. They plan to support the farmers with the creation of local agricultural cooperatives using JA’s expertise. This way, they can help small family-run farmers make more profit and their villages become more vitalized.
The two parties are planning to sign the agreement on May 7, 2019. JA-ZENCHU will then start enlisting JAs which are willing to participate in the international support program, and JICA is going to match them with the nations in need. They are already preparing for the first set of the project between JA Oura-Tatebayashi in Gunma Prefecture and Indonesia for sending JA workers to Indonesia in 2019.
Small-scale farmers in many of the developing countries have difficulties in organizing themselves due to the lack of human resources and knowledge. Therefore, they are in a weakened position in selling agricultural products and purchasing production materials. Also, their productivity is not so high. JA group and JICA aim to solve these problems by transferring the know-how possessed by JA for the establishment and operation of agricultural cooperatives, the launch of joint purchasing and sales, and the creation of new production areas, and nurturing local human resources.
Also, through the program, JA-ZENCHU can provide young farmers and JA workers opportunities to learn from the work outside Japan, become more familiar to the idea of cooperatives, and grow further as local leaders at home.