Comments on: How much money do rice farmers need to make from farming? How to make, save and spend money in Japan. Wed, 18 Feb 2015 03:29:48 +0000 hourly 1 By: Oliver Sat, 28 Apr 2012 14:29:36 +0000 I keep wondering about the Fukui farmer’s annual expenses and his sales revenue. Especially as he claims 600,000 Yen in depreciation for his farm equipment for one year, while his sales amount to 1.1 million Yen. That does not look like a healthy relation between the expenses for equipment and the output in rice production.

But maybe this is because he is a part-time farmer, and thus has his own equipment for his small rice field? I have often observed farmers working on their fields at weekends, so it seems that they are part-timers who have no time to do agriculture during the week. Because there are so many part-timers, they all have to do it on the weekend, and thus have to own all of the necessary equipment. Lots of investment! Kubota, Yanmar and other manufacturers may be happy, but the price goes up.

I think the size of a farm is not so relevant, rather the huge amount of underused machines in Japanese agriculture. If small farmers would share the machines, costs would come down. But then of course not all of them could work on the fields on weekends only…

By: Farmer Brown Fri, 13 Apr 2012 08:26:07 +0000 The postwar communist-style “Land reform” pushed by New Dealers of the FDR administration broke up farms into tiny plots of land and subsequent agricultural laws made it almost impossible for a non-farmer to purchase farm land. Perhaps the only way for anyone to become a farmer in Japan is to inherit farmland from farmer parents or marry into a farm family. The legacy of stupid “Land reform” has resulted in a nation that has high quality agricultural products but they are sold for ridiculously high prices.

Before the Japanese agricultural market can be opened to the rest of the world, it must first be opened to the Japanese people so that people who actually want to farm can do so without being impeded by farm laws that are designed to only maintain the status quo of JA and current farmers.

By: Rowan Sun, 01 Apr 2012 23:24:38 +0000 Great article. Nice to see a clearer view of the issue wothout all the hype, and no mention of differences in length of intestines between Japanese and foreigners. I agree with the first response – rice is so important to most Japanese that I think many will be willing to pay the premium to buy locally grown product. It is a bit silly that pasta is so cheap, and rice so expensive….

By: Japanese Fri, 30 Mar 2012 20:39:35 +0000 The major problem with Japanese agriculture, one that almost no government over the last 30 years or so has bothered to address, is scale. Farming of all sorts in Japan could be at least a break even proposition or even profitable if there were fewer farmers yet and if it were to go larger scale in those areas where this is still possible. The farmer in Aomori is something of an example of this, though 5 hectares still isn’t much of a farm even if devoted to a single crop.

To my knowledge, Japanese agriculture, be it rice, vegetables or fruits, is still categorized as “intensive gardening.” As long as rice in particular is approached as if you were raising orchids (hand or mechanically planting sprouts), no one can expect domestically grown rice to be competitive.

A certain portion of the population will always prefer buying domestically grown rice and you’d maintain this customer base or even expand it if the price for Japanese rice was 10-20% lower than it is now, which is potentially profitable with large farms.

Premium short and medium grain “Japanese-style” rice grown and sold in the U.S. commands a higher price (Calrose is very much a lower tier brand) just as the best locally grown rice in Japan would continue to be profitable without subsidies or tariff barriers to imported rice, much of which, Jasmine rice for one, doesn’t compete with Japanese rice in the traditional Japanese diet.