Agricultural production value declines two years in a row reflecting drop in vegetable prices

TOKYO, March 13 – Japan’s gross agricultural production totaled 8.8938 trillion yen in 2019, down 1.8 percent from a year before, posting a year-on-year decline for two consecutive years, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced on March 12.

The value of production decreased below 9 trillion yen for the first time since 2015.

The ministry attributes the decline to the drop in prices of vegetables due to abundant harvest.

By prefecture, the production value was lower than the previous year in 36 prefectures, three-quarters of the total.

Reflecting the decline in production value, farmers’ income declined 4.8 percent from a year before to 3.3215 trillion yen, posting a year-on-year drop for two years in a row.

The gross agricultural production has been on a declining trend for a long time after peaking at 11.7171 trillion yen in 1984.

It increased for three years in a row from 2015, amounting to 9.2742 trillion yen in 2017, but started to decline again in 2018.

The agriculture ministry says such ups and downs in production value are largely affected by conditions of vegetable crops.

Vegetable prices dropped due to abundant hargest between 2017 and 2019, resulting in a decrease in gross production value.

In 2015 and 2016, when production value was rising, vegetable prices increased because of poor crops. Between 2015 and 2017, rice prices turned upward as excessive rice acreage was reduced, also contributing to an increase in production value.

Looking at the value of gross production for 2019 by items, production of vegetables totaled 2.1515 trillion yen, down 7.3 percent from the previous year. The most recent peak was 2.5567 trillion yen marked in 2016.

Due to good weather in Hokkaido, production volume of such items as tomatoes, onions and carrots rose, leading to a decline in prices. Prices of such products as green onions, cabbages and winter radishes also stayed low because of the warm winter.

In addition to vegetables, the ministry attributed the drop in gross production value to eggs whose production value dropped 5.5 percent from a year before to 454.9 billion yen. The production of eggs increased in view of expected strong demand, easing the supply-demand balance and resulting in low prices.

Meanwhile, the production value of some items showed a year-on-year rise, with rice increasing 0.1 percent from the previous year to 1.7426 trillion yen, beef cattle up 3.4 percent to 788 billion yen, raw milk up 2.1 percent to 762.8 billion yen and tubers and roots up 1.9 percent to 199.2 billion yen.

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