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JA prefectural unions plan to set rice production guidelines even after acreage reduction policy ends in FY18

  • April 13, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 23
  • JMH Translation

Out of 44 prefectural unions of agricultural cooperatives (JA Chuo-kai), 40 will set rice production guidelines after the government ends its acreage reduction policy in 2018, according to a survey done by the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA Zenchu). Local agricultural revitalization councils, which comprise local governments and JA groups, are expected to coordinate in setting recommended rice production volumes within each prefecture.

 

The survey says that 36 prefectural unions plan to decide on production guidelines at the municipal level next year, and 16 of them will directly convey their production benchmarks to farmers. Nine prefectural unions are also considering setting guidelines for farmers, and 18 prefectural unions are expected to set benchmarks on a municipal basis.

 

Up until now, the government has set a numerical target for national rice output and allocated quotas to each prefecture. Farmers are notified of their output in advance through municipal governments and local agricultural cooperatives.

 

Starting from fiscal 2018, the state control of rice production will be reduced and farmers will have more latitude in their rice output. But this is triggering concerns at the local level that an increase in rice output will bring down rice prices. Prefectural unions have  yet to come up with a specific method for setting production guidelines, but they will likely be called upon to foster the individuality of rice farmers. (Abridged)

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