In light of the government’s initiative for agricultural reform, leaders of the Japan Agricultural Corporations Association (JACA), a large agricultural organization with around 1,900 members, met with top representatives from the JA Group to request a price reduction on production materials. The issue is under examination by the government as part of the reform plan. JACA’s argument is based on its own study that shows that Japanese farmers are paying twice as much for fertilizers and three-times as much for agrichemicals compared with Korean farmers, and paying similarly high prices for machinery as well. Both sides agreed to request that the government deregulate generic agrichemicals so that they can be more widely used in Japan.
After the meeting, Chairman of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA Zenchu) Choe Okuno said that restructuring the fertilizer industry is a necessary step towards lowering agrichemical prices. Executive Vice-President Shuji Yamazaki of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (JA Zen-noh), the sole wholesaler of agricultural materials, responded by saying, “We will tackle the issue by reducing distribution costs.”
JACA commented on the cause of the difficulties the JA Group encounters in its price reduction efforts. In Korea, the agricultural industry has gone through structural reforms since the 2012 enactment of the free trade agreement with the U.S. The lower prices of production machinery were achieved in Korea through the agricultural sector’s collective negotiations with manufacturers.