The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries revealed on Aug. 23 that it will receive an allocation of 573.9 billion yen out of the 4 trillion yen that the government will allocate in a second supplementary budget for fiscal 2016. Of that amount, 345.3 billion yen will be earmarked for projects to establish export bases and expand the scale of farmland to facilitate the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. With concerns about further trade liberalization mounting among farmers, the ministry will step up measures to make them more competitive.
Koya Nishikawa, chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Research Commission on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Strategy, explained at a meeting held on the same day that the latest allocation is 43.2% bigger than that for the supplementary budget for fiscal 2015. “This represents a good increase,” he said.
MAFF will spend 27 billion yen to establish container yards and facilities to market fresh produce in an effort to help business operators looking to increase the exports of farm products. To slash prices of production materials, such as agrochemicals and fertilizers, it will earmark 100 million yen to develop an environment for comparing price information.
MAFF also announced on the same day that it will seek an allocation of about 2.6 trillion yen in the budget for fiscal 2017, which is almost the same as a year ago, to facilitate the consolidation of farmland through the “Public Corporation for Farmland Consolidation to Core Farmers through Renting and Subleasing (Farmland Bank).”
The budget request for fiscal 2017 will include a project to help farmers switch from rice production to vegetable production in paddy fields. The ministry will solicit model regions and subsidize farm machinery purchases.