Agriculture, farming, and fishing (Japanese: 農林水産, nōrinsuisan) form the primary sector of industry of the Japanese economy together with the Japanese mining industry, but together they account for only 1.3% of gross national product. Only 20% of Japan's land is suitable for cultivation, and the agricultural economy is highly subsidized.
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing dominated the Japanese economy until the 1940s, but thereafter declined into relative unimportance (see Agriculture in the Empire of Japan). In the late 19th century (Meiji period), these sectors had accounted for more than 80% of employment. Employment in agriculture declined in the prewar period, but the sector was still the largest employer (about 50% of the work force) by the end of World War II. It was further declined to 23.5% in 1965, 11.9% in 1977, and to 7.2% in 1988. The importance of agriculture in the national economy later continued its rapid decline, with the share of net agricultural production in GNP finally reduced between 1975 and 1989 from 4.1% to 3% In the late 1980s, 85.5% of Japan's farmers were also engaged in occupations outside farming, and most of these part-time farmers earned most of their income from nonfarming activities.
Japan's economic boom that began in the 1950s left farmers far behind in both income and agricultural technology. They were attracted to the government's food control policy under which high rice prices were guaranteed and farmers were encouraged to increase the output of any crops of their own choice. Farmers became mass producers of rice, even turning their own vegetable gardens into rice fields. Their output swelled to over 14 million metric tons in the late 1960s, a direct result of greater cultivated area and increased yield per unit area, owing to improved cultivation techniques.
Three types of farm households developed: those engaging exclusively in agriculture (14.5% of the 4.2 million farm households in 1988, down from 21.5% in 1965); those deriving more than half their income from the farm (14.2% down from 36.7% in 1965); and those mainly engaged in jobs other than farming (71.3% up from 41.8% in 1965). As more and more farm families turned to nonfarming activities, the farm population declined (down from 4.9 million in 1975 to 4.8 million in 1988). The rate of decrease slowed in the late 1970s and 1980s, but the average age of farmers rose to 51 years by 1980, twelve years older than the average industrial employee. Historically and today, women farmers outnumber male farmers.Government data from 2011 showed women heading more than three-quarters of new agribusiness ventures.
In 2018, Japan produced 9.7 million tons of rice (13th largest producer in the world), 3.6 million tons of sugar beet (used to produce sugar and ethanol), 1.2 million tons of sugarcane (used to produce sugar and ethanol), 208 thousand tons of persimmon (4th largest producer in the world), 2.7 million tons of assorted vegetables, 3 million tons of potatoes, 1.3 million tons of cabbage, 1.6 million tons of onion, 773 thousand tons of tangerine, 756 thousand tons of apple, 764 thousand tons of wheat, 724 thousand tons of tomato, 612 thousand tons of carrot, 578 thousand tons of lettuce and chicory, 550 thousand tons of cucumber, 317 thousand tons of watermelon, 300 thousand tons of eggplant, 258 thousand tons of pear, 226 thousand tons of spinach, 211 thousand tons of soy, 197 thousand tons of pumpkin, 174 thousand tons of barley, 174 thousand tons of grape, 164 thousand tons of cauliflower and broccoli, 164 thousand tons of yam, 163 thousand tons of strawberry, 143 thousand tons of melon, 141 thousand tons of taro, 140 thousand tons of pepper, 113 thousand tons of peach, 112 thousand tons of apricot, in addition to smaller productions of other agricultural products.
The most striking feature of Japanese agriculture is the shortage of farmland. The 49,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) under cultivation constituted just 13.2% of the total land area in 1988. However, the land is intensively cultivated. Rice paddies occupy most of the countryside, whether on the alluvial plains, the terraced slopes, or wetlands and coastal bays. Non-paddy farmland share the terraces and lower slopes and are planted with wheat and barley in the autumn and with sweet potatoes, vegetables, and dry rice in the summer. Intercropping is common: such crops are alternated with beans and peas.
Japanese agriculture has been characterized as a "sick" sector because it must contend with a variety of constraints, such as the rapidly diminishing availability of arable land and falling agricultural incomes. The problem of surplus rice was further aggravated by extensive changes in the diets of many Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s. Even a major rice crop failure did not reduce the accumulated stocks by more than 25% of the reserve. In 1990, Japan was 67% self-sufficient in agricultural products and provided for around 30% of its cereal and fodder needs.
As an attempt to consolidate farmland and increase productivity, "Farmland Intermediary Management Organizations (nōchi chūkan kanri kikō)," also known as Farmland Banks, were introduced as part of a reform package in 2014, which also included the reform of local Agricultural Committees. As Jentzsch notes, "The reform package is supposed to rationalize farmland consolidation into the hands of ninaite [bearer] farms, including corporations.
Livestock raising is a minor activity. Demand for beef rose in the 1900s, and farmers often shifted from dairy farming to production of high-quality (and high-cost) beef, such as Kobe beef. Throughout the 1980s, domestic beef production met over 2% of demand. In 1991, as a result of heavy pressure from the United States, Japan ended import quotas on potatoes as well as citrus fruit. Milk cows are numerous in Hokkaido, where 25% of farmers run dairies, but milk cows are also raised in Iwate, in Tōhoku, and near Tokyo and Kobe. Beef cattle are mostly concentrated in western Honshu, and on Kyushu. Hogs, the oldest domesticated animals raised for food, are found everywhere. Pork is the most popular meat.
Most of the imported beef comes from Australia, since beef from the USA and Canada was banned after the first cases of BSE in those countries. Those bans were lifted in 2006.
Two thirds of land of Japan is forest. 40% of the forests in Japan are planted forests, such as cedar and cypress. They are mainly planted after the Pacific War, in attempt to produce construction material, but after Japan had experienced rapid economic growth, they switched construction material from wood to reinforced concrete. Moreover, cheaper import wood became more attractive, compared to domestic wood which is produced in steep mountain and high costs of labour. Nowadays, many planted forests are too dense and need thinning.
In 2015, Japanese forestry industry produced 20.05 million m3 volume of wood and 436.3 billion yen of production, half of it is mushroom production. Forestry composes 0.04% of Japan's GDP.
The fishing industry of Japan has been heavily hit by the worries of radioactivity contaminated seafood resulting from 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Since 2011, Japan has dumped radioactive water of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant into the Pacific.
After the 1973 energy crisis, deep-sea fishing in Japan declined, with the annual catch in the 1980s averaging 2 million tons. Offshore fisheries accounted for an average of 50% of the nation's total fish catches in the late 1980s although they experienced repeated ups and downs during that period. Coastal fisheries had smaller catches than northern sea fisheries in 1986 and 1987. As a whole, Japan's fish catches registered a slower growth in the late 1980s. By contrast, Japan's import of marine products increased greatly in the 1980s, and was nearly 2 million tons in 1989.
The Japanese fishing industry, both domestic and overseas, has long been centered on the Tsukiji fish market, in Tokyo, which is one of the world's largest wholesale markets for fresh, frozen, and processed seafood.
Japan also has greatly advanced the techniques of aquaculture or sea farming. In this system, artificial insemination and hatching techniques are used to breed fish and shellfish, which are then released into rivers or seas. These fish and shellfish are caught after they grow bigger. Salmon is raised this way.
Japan has more than 2,000 fishing ports, including Nagasaki, in southwest Kyūshū; Otaru, Kushiro, and Abashiri in Hokkaidō. Major fishing ports on the Pacific coast of Honshū include, Hachinohe, Kesennuma, and Ishinomaki along the Sanriku coast, as well as Choshi, Yaizu, Shimizu, and Misaki to the east and south of Tokyo.
Japan is also one of the world's few whaling nations. Japan was a member of the International Whaling Commission, where the government pledged that its fleets would restrict their catch to international quotas, but it attracted international opprobrium for its failure to sign an agreement placing a moratorium on catching sperm whales. As of 2019, Japan withdrew from the International Whaling Commission and now openly hunts whales in international waters.
Two of the largest fishing companies in Japan are Nippon Suisan Kaisha and Maruha Nichiro; each employs more than 10,000 people and owns subsidiaries around the world.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is the government agency responsible for the fishing industry. The Japanese Fisheries Agency states that the Basic Fisheries Plan was developed by the Japanese government in 2007, and claims that the government is working to establish long-standing, strong fisheries and fishery practices by promoting the overall restoration of the fishery industry. This can be accomplished by promoting surveys and research into fishery resources, the promotion of international resource management in international waters, promoting international cooperation within the international fishing grounds, and improving the living environments for all aquatic life in inland waters, while at the same time promoting aquaculture. This restoration consists of many different phases to include the restoration and management of high-level fishery resources.
Other priorities of the Japanese government include continuing to develop new technologies to improve fishery operations, whether incorporating new workplace needed technologies, or creating and exploiting intellectual properties. Also, at the top of the list is the reorganization of the fish-labor industry organizations from the top down. The government provides support to the fishery operators groups by helping to acquire the equipment necessary to reduce fuel consumption, through the introduction of energy-saving operating systems. In order to maintain a strong work force in the fishery industry, the government has programs to encourage college students to look into the industry as a possible career path. This includes supporting activities that provide the opportunity to experience stationary net fishing and aquaculture. The government also provides the prospective employees with job information from fisheries worldwide while holding job seminars with well recognized companies in the Japanese fishery business. There is also a government sponsored on-site training program for individuals planning to make a career in the fishery industry. The fisheries in Japan are governed by the Japanese Fisheries Agency.
The Fisheries Agency is organized into four departments: Fisheries Policy Planning Department, Resources Management Department, Resources Development Department, and Fishing Port Department. The Fisheries Policy Planning Department is in charge of the planning of policies concerning the fisheries, and all administrative matters that go along with the organization. The Resources Management Department plans the continuous development of Japan's fisheries. The Resources Development Department is in charge of the scientific research and development in the field of fisheries. The Fishing Port Department is the base for fishery production activities and also the basis for the distribution and processing of the marine products.
In 2008, Takiji Kobayashi's A Crab Canning Boat , a 1929 Marxist novel about a crab boat crew determined to stand up to a cruel captain under harsh conditions, became a surprise bestseller, thanks to an advertising campaign linking the novel to the working poor.
Agriculture is a major industry in the United States, which is a net exporter of food. As of the 2007 census of agriculture, there were 2.2 million farms, covering an area of 922 million acres (1,441,000 sq mi), an average of 418 acres per farm.
The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products. It is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization as including recreational, subsistence and commercial fishing, and the related harvesting, processing, and marketing sectors. The commercial activity is aimed at the delivery of fish and other seafood products for human consumption or as input factors in other industrial processes. Directly or indirectly, the livelihood of over 500 million people in developing countries depends on fisheries and aquaculture.
Although Australia is mostly arid, the nation is a major agricultural producer and exporter, with over 325,300 employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing as of February 2015. Agriculture and its closely related sectors earn $155 billion-a-year for a 12% share of GDP. Farmers and grazers own 135,997 farms, covering 61% of Australia's landmass. Across the country there is a mix of irrigation and dry-land farming. Australia leads the world with 35 million hectares certified organic, which is 8.8% of Australia's agricultural land and Australia now accounts for more than half (51%) of the world's certified organic agriculture hectares. The success of Australia to become a major agricultural power despite the odds is facilitated by its policies of long-term visions and promotion of agricultural reforms that greatly increased the country's agricultural industry.
Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world. As with other developed nations, the proportion of the population and GDP fell dramatically over the 20th century but it remains an important element of the Canadian economy. A wide range of agriculture is practised in Canada, from sprawling wheat fields of the prairies to summer produce of the Okanagan valley. In the federal government, overview of Canadian agriculture is the responsibility of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Agriculture in Nigeria is a branch of the economy in Nigeria, providing employment for about 35% of the population as of 2020. As reported by the FAO, agriculture remains the foundation of the Nigerian economy, despite the presence of oil in the country. It is the main source of livelihood for most Nigerians. The Agricultural sector is made up of four sub-sectors: Crop Production, Livestock, Forestry and Fishing. In the third quarter of 2019, the sector grew by 14.88% year-on-year in nominal terms with a decline of 3.44% points from the third quarter of 2018. The largest driver of the sector remains Crop Production as it accounts for 91.6% of the sector in the third quarter of 2019 with a quarterly growth which stood at 44.12%. The Agriculture sector contributed 29.25% to overall real GDP during the third quarter of 2019.
Agriculture in South Korea is a sector of the economy of South Korea. The natural resources required for agriculture in South Korea are not abundant. Two thirds of the country are mountains and hills. Arable land only accounts for 22 percent of the country's land. The most important crop in South Korea is rice, accounting about 90 percent of the country's total grain production and over 40 percent of farm income. Other grain products heavily rely on imports from other countries. Farms range in size from small, family-owned farms to large corporations, but most are small-scale and rely heavily on government support and services in order to survive.
In 2004, agriculture and forestry accounted for 21.8 percent of Vietnam's gross domestic product (GDP), and between 1994 and 2004, the sector grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent. Agriculture's share of economic output has declined in recent years, falling as a share of GDP from 42% in 1989 to 26% in 1999, as production in other sectors of the economy has risen. However, agricultural employment was much higher than agriculture's share of GDP; in 2005, approximately 60 percent of the employed labor force was engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Agricultural products accounted for 30 percent of exports in 2005. The relaxation of the state monopoly on rice exports transformed the country into the world's second or third largest rice exporter. Other cash crops are coffee, cotton, peanuts, rubber, sugarcane, and tea.
Agriculture is the largest employment sector in Bangladesh, making up 14.2 percent of Bangladesh's GDP in 2017 and employing about 42.7 percent of the workforce. The performance of this sector has an overwhelming impact on major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development, food security, and other economic and social forces. A plurality of Bangladeshis earn their living from agriculture. Due to a number of factors, Bangladesh's labour-intensive agriculture has achieved steady increases in food grain production despite the often unfavorable weather conditions. These include better flood control and irrigation, a generally more efficient use of fertilisers, as well as the establishment of better distribution and rural credit networks.
Fishing in India is a major industry employing 14.5 million people. India ranks second in aquaculture and third in fisheries production. Fisheries contributes to 1.07% of the Total GDP of India. According to the National Fisheries Development Board the Fisheries Industry generates an export earnings of Rs 334.41 billion. Centrally sponsored schemes will increase exports by Rs 1 lakh crore in FY25. 65,000 fishermen have been trained under these schemes since year 2017 to year 2020. Freshwater consists 55% of total fish production.
Agriculture is one of the main industries in Taiwan. It contributes to the food security, rural development and conservation of Taiwan. Around 24% of Taiwan's land is used for farming. Taiwan is a global leader in vertical farming.
Angola is a potentially rich agricultural country, with fertile soils, a favourable climate, and about 57.4 million ha of agricultural land, including more than 5.0 million ha of arable land. Before independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola had a flourishing tradition of family-based farming and was self-sufficient in all major food crops except wheat. The country exported coffee and maize, as well as crops such as sisal, bananas, tobacco and cassava. By the 1990s Angola produced less than 1% the volume of coffee it had produced in the early 1970s, while production of cotton, tobacco and sugar cane had ceased almost entirely. Poor global market prices and lack of investment have severely limited the sector since independence.
Agriculture employs the majority of Madagascar's population. Mainly involving smallholders, agriculture has seen different levels of state organisation, shifting from state control to a liberalized sector.
The economy of Saskatchewan has been associated with agriculture resulting in the moniker "Bread Basket of Canada" and Bread Basket of the World. According to the Government of Saskatchewan, approximately 95% of all items produced in Saskatchewan, depend on the basic resources available within the province. Various grains, livestock, oil and gas, potash, uranium, wood and their spin off industries fuel the economy.
Agriculture in Myanmar is the main industry in the country, accounting for 60 percent of the GDP and employing some 65 percent of the labour force. Burma was once Asia's largest exporter of rice, and rice remains the country's most crucial agricultural commodity.
Agriculture in Guyana is dominated by sugar and rice production. Although once the chief industry, is has been overshadowed by mining.
The role of agriculture in the Bolivian economy in the late 1980s expanded as the collapse of the tin industry forced the country to diversify its productive and export base. Agricultural production as a share of GDP was approximately 23 percent in 1987, compared with 30 percent in 1960 and a low of just under 17 percent in 1979. The recession of the 1980s, along with unfavorable weather conditions, particularly droughts and floods, hampered output. Agriculture employed about 46 percent of the country's labor force in 1987. Most production, with the exception of coca, focused on the domestic market and self-sufficiency in food. Agricultural exports accounted for only about 15 percent of total exports in the late 1980s, depending on weather conditions and commodity prices for agricultural goods, hydrocarbons, and minerals.
Throughout its history, agriculture in Paraguay has been the mainstay of the economy. This trend has continued today and in the late 1980s the agricultural sector generally accounted for 48 percent of the nation's employment, 23 percent of GDP, and 98 percent of export earnings. The sector comprised a strong food and cash crop base, a large livestock subsector including cattle ranching and beef production, and a vibrant timber industry.
Agriculture in Cyprus constituted the backbone of its economy when it achieved its independence in 1960. It mostly consisted of small farms, and sometimes even subsistence farms. During the 1960s, irrigation projects made possible vegetable and fruit exports; increasingly commercialized farming was able to meet the demands for meat, dairy products, and wine from the British and United Nations troops stationed on the island and from the growing number of tourists.
Rice production in Japan is important to the food supply in Japan, with rice being a staple part of the Japanese diet. Most people in Japan see this food as a substantial part of their daily diet.
Agriculture in Panama is an important sector of the Panamanian economy. Major agricultural products include bananas, cocoa beans, coffee, coconuts, timber, beef, chicken, shrimp, corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans, and sugar cane.