(Sankei: January 15, 2015 – p. 10)
The government has decided to allocate a total of 2.309 trillion yen, down by 0.8% from the initial budget for fiscal 2014, for programs related to agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in fiscal 2015. In line with the government’s policy of revitalizing agriculture, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) gave consideration to the decrease in rice prices, while placing priority on measures to strengthen competitiveness of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industry.
In anticipation of the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations, 209.7 billion yen, up 24.4 billion yen from a year earlier, will be allocated to boost the competitiveness of livestock and dairy farmers. In a new program, a total of 7.5 billion yen will be earmarked for measures to increase the earning capability of livestock farmers by helping improve such facilities as cattle barns and introduce machinery.
Moreover, 80.2 billion yen, up by 5.1 billion yen, will be allotted for measures to make up for the incomes of farmers that were lower than the standard level.
A total of 277 billion yen will be allocated for government subsidies to be paid directly for the utilization of paddy fields to support the cultivation of rice to be used as animal feed and other products. The ministry secured the same amount as the previous year for subsidies that can be used at the discretion of individual prefectures.
In response to strong calls from farmers, spending on farming village improvement projects will be increased to 275.3 billion yen (up 6.4 billion yen from the previous year), and 108.9 (up 2.5 billion yen) will be allotted for the promotion of large-scale compartmentalization of farmland. The ministry plans to address the promotion of structural reforms such as stabilizing the incomes of farmers and accumulating farmland through such measures as allocating 10 billion yen for farmland cultivation improvement to support farmland consolidation.