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Members Forum
subject Asia-Pacific Regional Report
Author Mr. Takuo Ichiya
photo1 20161202151652.jpg
Date 2016-12-02
Contents Regional Report Asia-Pacific
Mr. Takuo Ichiya, JA-Zenchu (Japan)
On behalf of Mr. Shigeshi Onishi

Overall situation
At the present time, Japanese agricultural cooperatives are contending with a variety of troubling issues including a decreasing, aging population, agricultural policy reform that encourages trade agreements among the international community, natural disasters such as typhoons, increasing food demand in contrast to weakened production basis, and changes in diet, lifestyle, and food channels. Nevertheless, Japan, the Japanese people, and JA-Zenchu recognize the necessity for developing agriculture sustainably.

Challenges for sustainable development of agriculture
The number one challenge to overcome in order to ensure sustainable development is to increase farmers incomes. In order to do this, cooperators must find more directly participation in the value chains. Therefore, direct marketing has become more popular in Japan, enabling primary cooperators to sell their products at farmers markets first hand. A farmers market is a facility where farmers can sell their agricultural products directly without any middlemen. At the same time, consumers can enjoy face-to-face relationships with local farmers who produce fresh local produce. These farmers markets are sometimes called 쁝gri-towns because they not only sell local farmers products, but also contain delis and restaurants where people can socialize while enjoying local agriculture. Sales at farmers markets have been expanding in Japan as a result of this initiative.

In order to strengthen food security, a number of factors must be addressed. First, we must accept that it is impossible to eliminate every risk that faces our agricultural security. Therefore, a contingency plan is key, especially through the building of strong infrastructures such as road, energy supply, and storage facilities. However, if these infrastructures fail, then local agricultural entities such as farmers and distributors must be prepared to handle the emergency.

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