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2014.02.21

Abolishing the policy to reduce rice production is the first step toward a national economy based on agriculture: Toward agricultural innovation and business creation

Discuss Japan—Japan Foreign Policy Forum No. 18

Inaccurate perceptions about agriculture

With respect to agriculture, there is the common perception that large-scale farmers run their modern agricultural operations by using a lot of fertilizer and chemicals, while poor small farmers engage in environmentally friendly agriculture, and that Japan can't compete with agriculture in the United States and Australia due to its small land area and the scale of its agricultural operations.

The agricultural industry and certain experts claim that this is why Japan's agriculture, especially its small farmers, must be protected, and that expanding the scale of farming operations to improve efficiency or for Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is out of the question.

However, there are no poor small farmers in Japan today. Small farmers are employed at other jobs and do their farming on the side, thus earning more than working-class households. Since they don't depend on their agricultural earnings, they don't need to make serious agricultural efforts such as expanding the scale of their operations. That's why the scale of their farms remains small. Yet just because their agricultural operations are small doesn't mean that farmers' earnings are limited...


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