On April 2018, I was appointed Director-General of the Hokkaido Agricultural Research Center, NARO (HARC). I would like to take this opportunity to make a few remarks.
The cultivation area in Hokkaido, which is the premier food production region in Japan, is 25% of the entire cultivation area in Japan. Hokkaido provides 13% of the national revenue from agriculture production, and the calorie-based self-sufficiency ratio in Hokkaido is 221%. Farming in Hokkaido is mainly carried out in large scale by full-time farmers with expert techniques. The average farming area in Hokkaido is 13-times larger than that of other areas of Japan. Research and development (R&D) plays a major role in agribusiness in Hokkaido.
This is the second time after 15 years for me to work in Hokkaido. During that 15-year period, farming communities have been faced with the problems of population decrease and aging of the population. Shrinkage of the domestic market will have a great impact on agriculture and food production. I would like to make use of my past experience to make contributions again to agriculture in Hokkaido.
The Japanese government is promoting R&D that will lead to innovations for realizing strong agriculture based on medium-term and long-term vision and also practical R&D based on the needs of farmers and food companies by a team consisting of farmers, private companies, universities and research organizations.
NARO is pursuing research initiatives to support agriculture as a sustainable industry with the goal of providing a stable supply of safe, reliable and high-quality agricultural and food products and the goal of making contributions to the government's economic growth policy through strong industrialization of agriculture and an increased share of agricultural products in the global market.
HARC is working to strengthen cooperation with research organizations, universities and private enterprises in Hokkaido by taking advantage of the fact that NARO has many research institutes throughout Japan.
We are also obtaining information on on-site needs and conducting R&D for dairy farming, upland crops and paddy crops to overcome the disadvantages of a cold region such as cold injury, heavy snow, unfavorable soil types and specific diseases. HARC is also making efforts to expand agribusiness in Hokkaido by developing highly profitable large-scale farm management systems controlled by ICT based on the results of empirical studies with farmers.
We are looking forward to your continuous support and collaboration. Thank you very much.
Ikuo ANDO, PhD
Hokkaido Agricultural Research Center, NARO