Road to Recovery

The Great East Japan Earthquake which occurred in March 11, 2011 claimed many precious lives and property in an instant and left enormous damage and deep scars in the realm of agriculture, which is a key industry in the disaster-affected regions, and in rural societies in these regions. There is no time to lose in reconstructing the lives of farmers and local residents through the reconstruction of agriculture in the disaster-affected regions.

Immediately after the occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) started its investigation of damage to farmland and agricultural facilities and has provided technical support for restoration at the request of the Ministry of Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). In addition, in collaboration with relevant organizations and farmers, NARO has made efforts to implement measures against salinization and liquefaction and to develop techniques to clean up farmland contaminated by radioactive substances.

Even before the disaster occurred, Japan’s agriculture has been subjected to several difficulties, such as a pronounced shortage of people engaged in agriculture, the rising age of farmers, a decrease in income, and an increase in abandoned agricultural land. In addition, agriculture has been required to become more competitive in response to globalization of the economy. Agriculture in the disaster areas cannot be truly reconstructed without resolving problems inherent to Japan’s agriculture; in addition, the rapid rebuilding of the agricultural infrastructure and production activities after the damage caused by the disaster is required.

Revitalizing agriculture and regional communities by turning agriculture into a growth industry and making it attractive to young people will be a route to reconstruction and development of agriculture in the disaster-afflicted regions.On the basis of a master plan for reconstruction of agriculture and rural communities (MAFF, August 2011) and basic policy and an action plan for the Revitalization of Japan's Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (The Council to Promote the Revitalization of Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries,October 2011), NARO supports the realization of reconstruction of the disaster- affected regions as a disaster-resilient, new food-supply base using advanced agricultural technologies in collaboration with relevant organizations, farmers, etc.

A report that introduces the advanced agricultural technolies that NARO has developed and presents a new vision of agriculture utilizing advanced agricultural technologies and processes for reconstruction. The report was originally compiled by NARO Headquarters with the cooperation of the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (now integrated to NARO), the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences (now integrated to NARO), the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences.

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