Don't Cut Funding For Organic Agriculture: A Really Bad Idea

According to Japan's daily agriculture newspaper, the Nougyou Shimbun, The DPJ-led government may cut back or eliminate subsidies for organic agriculture. This is a really bad idea. If the government decides to go ahead with slashing the budget for research and development in the agricultural field, there must be a large number of other projects that would be less important than finding ways forward for sustainable food production that is not relying on chemicals and fossile fuels.

Shisaku notes that the process amounts to Japan's Subsidies Culture on Trial:

Of the 244 budget requests reviewed during the first five days, 243 have been rejected. "Reapply with a new proposal," "No budget increases," "Reduce budget request," "Cease activity" have been the responses. Just one program has received the GRU's stamp of approval: a Health, Welfare and Labour Ministry fund supporting theater productions in the nation's after-school activity centers.

Well, yes, but here we are talking about a growth sector that needs to find solutions that work well in Japan. The country's organic farmers are seriously underfunded compared to other countries, and they cannot just depend on data developed elsewhere, like space scientists or others can. Farming in Japan has special features including climate and biodiversity. If you want to know how wild boars disturb farmers in Japan you cannot read about that in a organic farming science magazine published in Europe...

Organic Farming Research in the Countries of Europe (2002)

According to the front page report in Nougyou Shimbun today, we are talking 300 million yen, not a lot of money anyway: in fact I think it should be increased, not cut. Expecting such research to only be funded locally or by prefectures is unrealistic.

Japan Organic Agriculture Association (JOAA) : Statement of Purpose - October 17, 1971


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