Thursday, August 21, 2008
Why Are Japanese Farmers So Old?
I'm interested in farm policy and cannot understand why young people in Japan are not encouraged to go into farming.
Seems high land prices and inheritance taxes are making it virtually impossible. I don't agree that the job is un-cool, although that is also often put forward as a reason (Young ladies don't like guys who do dirty jobs? Come one...) and I'm pretty sure many young men and ladies too for that matter would rather live in the countryside than move into a small apartment in a suburb of Tokyo or Osaka - if possible. Yet, the average age of farmers here is around 65, which spells trouble for the future.
As blogger Shisaku notes, Yoshikawa Miho of Reuters has an excellent article out on the "insanity" of Japan's rice agriculture policy. I would also recommend the PBS documentary from 2005 called Japan: The Slow Life Tune in, drop out, grow rice by a young American who prefers the quiet island of Shikoku, which is, in his words, "the spiritual center of the nation, the farm country." Lovely scenery, lovely people.
Organic farmers are usually young in Japan. They are the pioneers of a new way of doing agriculture in a land that has long been told to maximize profit using chemical pesticides and fertilizers, as well as the latest machines. I'm suspecting that the new generation of young farmers are the ones that actually want to work with nature, and not fight against it.
For example, many of the farmers in the popular network called Radish Boya, that sells organic food boxes dircetly to some 90,000 consumers, are much younger than the average of 65-70!
Radish Boya makes weekly deliveries to households throughout Japan, making it one of the leading distributors of natural and organic farm products. Radish Boya became a member of IFOAM in 1997 and then they established IFOAM Japan in 2001 with producers, distributors, certification bodies, and NGOs to promote the Japanese organic movement.
Radish Boya was featured in Nikkei Ecology in January 2006 for "Winning the hearts of vegetable consumers with stylish designing and trustworthiness".
More details over at Frugal Japan Grocery Delivery: Convenient, Fast & Sometimes Frugal
(Photos from a Radish Boya project in Tsukuba, 2007)
Blogs I Like
- Ad B: Japan Navigator
- Adventures of a (Swedish) Salariman in Tokyo
- Amy: Blue Lotus
- Boing Boing: Wonderful Things
- Brendan: UNU OurWorld 2.0
- Hiroko & Rick: Itadakimasu
- Jared B: Tokyo Green Space
- Joan: Popcorn Homestead
- Jon: Toshogu or As I See Japan... From L.A.
- Justin B: The Rational Pessimist (Climate & Risk)
- Kat: Food Adventures in Japan
- Ken: KenElwood in semi-rural Japan
- Mari: Watashi to Tokyo
- MTC: Shisaku
- Otakimura: In The Pines
- P: Pacific Islander
- Peko Peko: Kyoto Foodie
- Richard H: Spike Japan
- Risa & Kirk: Savory Japan
- Robert: Pure Land Mountain
- Shizuoka Gourmet
- Ten Thousand Things
- Tom: Kitchen Garden in Japan
Links I Like
- News: About Sweden in English
- News: BBC
- News: Der Spiegel (Germany) in English
- News: Deutche Welle
- News: FT Asia (UK, EU)
- News: Kyoto Journal (Japan)
- News: NHK World Society & Others (Japan)
- News: People's Daily (China)
- News: Telegraph (UK)
- News: The Local (Sweden)
- News: Yomiuri Online (Japan)
- News: Yonhap (Korea)
- NGOs/News: Organic Consumers Association (US)
- NGOs: Amnesty
- NGOs: Consumers Union (US) Food
- NGOs: Consumers Union of Japan
- NGOs: Greenpeace
- NGOs: Greenz.jp
- NGOs: Japan for Sustainability
- NGOs: Japan Organic Agriculture Association
- NGOs: Japan Vegetarian Society
- Shops: Alishan Organic Center
- Shops: Eco to Waza (GreenJapan)
- Shops: Warabe Mura
- Stuff: Japan Probe