Home at last
No matter how good a trip has been, there’s always something special about coming home.
Now comes time to unpack, sort through all the materials we’ve gathered over the last week and finish downloading and filing all the pictures.
Japan was a wonderful experience – the people were warm and welcoming, and always helpful, even when language was a barrier.
Their agriculture is one that struggles with some of the same issues we do, including an aging farm population, and the drive to promote local food.
History and tradition are very important in Japan and their biggest challenge is to find a way to preserve their ancient ways in the face of globalization and rapidly decreasing profitability of their small and often inefficient farms.
Their average farm size is a little over one hectare (approx. 2.5 acres) and the official government policy to improve the viability of their agricultural sector is one of consolidation.
Of the two million farms in Japan currently, the government’s plan is to reduce that to about 400,000 by 2015.
And with 75% of their farmers age 60 or older and few young farmers willing to take over, there is no doubt that interesting times are ahead for agriculture in Japan.