Agriculture in the Empire of Japan was an important component of the pre-war Japanese economy. Although Japan had only 16% of its land area under cultivation before the Pacific War, over 45% of households made a living from farming. Japanese cultivated land was mostly dedicated to rice, which accounted for 15% of world rice production in 1937.
After the end of the Tokugawa shogunate with the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japanese agriculture was dominated by a tenant farming system. The Meiji government based its industrialization program on tax revenues from private land ownership, and the Land Tax Reform of 1873 increased the process of landlordism, with many farmers having their land confiscated due to inability to pay the new taxes.
This situation was worsened by the deflationary Matsukata Fiscal Policy of 1881-1885, which severely depressed rice prices, leading to further bankruptcies, and even to large scale rural uprisings against the government. By the end of the Meiji period, over 67% of all peasant families were driven into tenancy, and farm productivity stagnated. As tenants were forced to pay over half their crop as rent, they were often forced to send wives and daughters to textile mills or to sell daughters into prostitution to pay for taxes.
In the early Meiji period, landowners collected a high rate of rent in kind, rather than cash and consequently played a major role in the development of agriculture, since the tenant farmers found it difficult to obtain capital. Gradually, with the development of cash crops to supplement the mainstay of rice, and the growth of capitalism in general from the turn of the twentieth century onwards, agricultural cooperatives and the government took over the role by providing farm subsidies, loans, and education in new agricultural techniques.
The first agricultural cooperatives were established in 1900, after their creation was debated in the Diet of Japan by Shinagawa Yajirō and Hirata Tosuke as a means of modernizing Japanese agriculture and adapting it to a cash economy. These cooperatives served in rural areas as credit unions, purchasing cooperatives and assisted in the marketing and sales of farm products.
The Imperial Agricultural Association (帝国農会, Teikoku Nokai) was a central organization for agricultural cooperatives in the Empire of Japan. It was established in 1910, and provided assistance to individual cooperatives through transmission of agricultural research and facilitating the sales of farm products. The Imperial Agricultural Association was at the peak of a three tier structure of national-prefectural-local system of agricultural cooperatives. This organization was of vital importance after nationwide markets were consolidated under government control in the aftermath of the Rice Riots of 1918 and increasing economic crisis from the late 1920s. Increasing tenant farmer disputes and issues with landlordism also led to increasing government regulation.
After the Rice Riots of 1918, many peasants came under the influence of the urban labor movement with socialist, communist and/or agrarian ideas, which created serious political issues. Not only were the Imperial Family of Japan and the zaibatsu major landowners, but until 1928, an income tax requirement severely limited the right to vote, limiting seats in the Diet of Japan only to people of wealth. In 1922, the Nihon Nomin Kumiai (Japan Farmer's Union) was formed for collective bargaining for cultivator rights and reduced rents.
By the 1930s, the growth of the urban economy and flight of farmers to the cities gradually weakened the hold of the landlords. The interwar years also saw the rapid introduction of mechanized agriculture, and the supplementation of natural animal fertilizers with chemical fertilizers and imported phosphates.
With the growth of the wartime economy, the government recognized that landlordism was an impediment to increased agricultural productivity, and took steps to increase control over the rural sector through the formation of the Central Agricultural Association (中央農会, Chuo Nokai) in 1943, which was a compulsory organization under the wartime command economy to force the implementation of government farming policies. Another duty of the organization was to secure food supply to local markets and the military. It was dissolved after World War II.
Farmed land in 1937 was 14,940,000 acres (60,460 km²), which represented 15.8% of the total Japanese surface area, compared with 10,615,000 acres (42,957 km²) or 40% in Ohio (USA), or 12,881,000 acres (52,128 km²) or 21% in England. The proportion of farmed land rose from 11.8% in 1887 to 13.7% in 1902, and 14.4% in 1912 to 15.7% in 1919. This fell to 15.4% in 1929. There were 5,374,897 farmers at an average 2.67 acres (11,000 m²) per family, in comparison with any American farmer family with 155 acres (627,000 m²). These were larger in Hokkaidō and Karafuto and reduced by 2 acres (8,000 m²) in southwest area. The intense culture, fertilizers and scientific development, raised the yield to 43 bushels per acre (2.89 t/ha) in 1936.
In Japan there now is only 6,9% of farmed land.
The sparsely populated Chishima Islands had an inclement climate for anything other than small-scale agriculture; the economy was based the fishing, whaling, and harvest of furs and reindeer meat.
Karafuto likewise had a severe climate made cultivation difficult, along with unsuitable podzolic soils. Small scale farming was developed in the south, were land was suitable for potatoes, oats, rye, forage, and vegetables. Only 7% of Karafuto was arable. The livestock raising was quite important. Farming experiments with rice were partially successful. Through government policies, capable farmers from Hokkaidō and northern Honshū received 12.5 acres (51,000 m2) to 25 acres (100,000 m2) of land and a house to settle in Karafuto, and thus the amount of land under cultivation and the Japanese population rose steadily through the 1920s and 1930s. By 1937, 10,811 families were cultivating 86,175 acres (348.74 km²), as opposed to 8,755 families cultivating 179.9 km² in 1926.
Hokkaidō was a target area for agricultural development since the start of the Meiji period, with the establishment of the Hokkaidō colonization Office, and with the assistance of numerous foreign advisors who introduced new crops and new agricultural techniques. Hokkaidō farms averaged 11 acres (48,000 m²), more than four times others in Japan. Despite efforts to cultivate rice on about 60% of the arable land in the territory, climate and soils were not favorable and yields were low. Other crops included oats, potatoes, vegetables, rye and wheat as well as extensive horticulture. The dairy industry was important, as was the raising of horses for use by the Imperial Japanese Army cavalry.
Farmer households numbered 2,000,000 and the government mentioned the possibility to establish another 1,000,000.
The farms were 3.5 to 4 acres (14,000 to 16,000 m²), for rice, potatoes, rice, and rye. Northern Honshū produced 75% of apples of Japan; other products included cherries and horses. Central Honshū cultivated rice and special products including white mulberry (for silkworms) in Suwa, tea, (in Shizuoka), daikon in Aichi, and also rye, rice, grapes for wine, etc.
Due to subtropical conditions, Shikoku and Kyūshū islands were dominated by traditional rice and sweet potato crops. Other important crops included sugar cane, bananas, Japanese citrus, tobacco, taro, and beans. Other products obtained in the highlands included rye, wheat, morel, silk and livestock raising (horses and cows).
The tropical Ryūkyū Islands with their limited cultivatable area had a largely subsistence agriculture based on rice, sweet potatoes, sugar cane and fruits.
With a large ethnic Chinese population, agricultural methods and products in Taiwan were in the Chinese-style, with rice cultivation and sweet potatoes dominating. Cash crops included fruits and tea and jute & ramie. (The cultivated land was 2,116,174 acres (8,563.85 km²) at a density of 1,576 inhabitants per square mile in 1937.
The central government gave strong emphasis on development of the sugar cane industry, and Taiwan satisfied 42% of the crude sugar demand of Japan. The consumption of sugar in Japan grew from 15 lb (7 kg) in 1918 to 30 lb (14 kg) in 1928.
The central government also placed strong emphasis on the development of forestry products. Camphor wood was collected from forests or plantations under a government-monopoly (the "Formosa Manufacturing Company" from 1899).
The equatorial tropical conditions of the South Seas Mandate islands supported farming of coconuts, taro, sweet potatoes, tapioca, bananas, pineapples and rice, for local use and export. The sugar cane industry was given strong emphasis by the central government, with principal sugar in Saipan and Palau. However, the very limited cultivable land area of the South Seas Mandate meant that fishing and whaling remained more economically important.
Prior to the Pacific War there was a small Japanese settlement in Davao at the south of Mindanao Island which worked with Japanese private companies to cultivate abacá for Manila hemp. This was the main center of cultivation in the region, with farming of sugar cane, pineapple, bananas, sweet potato and other tropical crops. Abaca farming exceeded sugar cane cultivation in area but not in value. 25% was sent to the USA. Sisal was also exported to the USA and Japan.
The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was a socialist republic from the communist coup of 1948 until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. 95% of all privately owned companies were nationalized. 95% of farms were nationalized. No one could own more than 50 hectares of land. Collectivization worked for some but not others. Larger farms were organized on 3 levels of hierarchy which actually reduced worker participation in decision making. Younger workers left for better jobs in the cities and productivity fell. Reforms in the 1970s saw more investment and improvements began to appear gradually. There were record harvests in the 1980s.
Agriculture, farming, and fishing 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 in Cuba has played an important part in the economy for several hundred years. Today, it contributes less than 10% to the gross domestic product (GDP), but it employs about 20% of the working population. About 30% of the country's land is used for crop cultivation.
The history of Agriculture in India dates back to Indus Valley Civilization. India ranks second worldwide in farm outputs. As per 2018, agriculture employed more than 50% of the Indian work force and contributed 17–18% to country's GDP.
Agriculture in Lithuania dates to the Neolithic period, about 3,000 to 1,000 BC. It has been one of Lithuania's most important occupations for many centuries.
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.
For 4,000 years China has been a nation of farmers. By the time the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, virtually all arable land was under cultivation; irrigation and drainage systems constructed centuries earlier and intensive farming practices already produced relatively high yields. But little prime virgin land was available to support population growth and economic development. However, after a decline in production as a result of the Great Leap Forward (1958–60), agricultural reforms implemented in the 1980s increased yields and promised even greater future production from existing cultivated land.
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.
Agriculture continued to be the mainstay of the economy of Haiti in the late 1980s; it employed approximately 66 percent of the labor force and accounted for about 35 percent of GDP and for 24 percent of exports in 1987. The role of agriculture in the economy has declined severely since the 1950s, when the sector employed 80 percent of the labor force, represented 50 percent of GDP, and contributed 90 percent of exports. Many factors have contributed to this decline. Some of the major ones included the continuing fragmentation of landholdings, low levels of agricultural technology, migration out of rural areas, insecure land tenure, a lack of capital investment, high commodity taxes, the low productivity of undernourished animals, plant diseases, and inadequate infrastructure. Neither the government nor the private sector invested much in rural ventures; in FY 1989 only 5 percent of the national budget went to the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development. As Haiti entered the 1990s, however, the main challenge to agriculture was not economic, but ecological. Extreme deforestation, soil erosion, droughts, flooding, and the ravages of other natural disasters had all led to a critical environmental situation.
Agriculture in Angola has a tremendous potential. 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.
Uganda's favorable soil conditions and climate have contributed to the country's agricultural success. Most areas of Uganda have usually received plenty of rain. In some years, small areas of the southeast and southwest have averaged more than 150 millimeters per month. In the north, there is often a short dry season in December and January. Temperatures vary only a few degrees above or below 20 °C but are moderated by differences in altitude.
Agriculture in Kenya dominates Kenya's economy. 15–17 percent of Kenya's total land area has sufficient fertility and rainfall to be farmed, and 7–8 percent can be classified as first-class land. In 2006, almost 75 percent of working Kenyans made their living by farming, compared with 80 percent in 1980. About one-half of Kenya's total agricultural output is non-marketed subsistence production.
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.
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.
Prior to World War II, agriculture in Bulgaria was the leading sector in the Bulgarian economy. In 1939, agriculture contributed 65 percent of Net material product (NMP), and four out of every five Bulgarians were employed in agriculture. The importance and organization of Bulgarian agriculture changed drastically after the war, however. By 1958, the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) had collectivized a high percentage of Bulgarian farms; in the next three decades, the state used various forms of organization to improve productivity, but none succeeded. Meanwhile, private plots remained productive and often alleviated agricultural shortages during the Todor Zhivkov era.
Poland's agricultural sector is vital for European and Global market because it produces a variety of agricultural, horticultural and animal origin products. The surface area of agricultural land in Poland is 15.4 million ha, which constitutes nearly 50% of the total area of the country.
Despite crisis in Syria, agriculture remains a key part of the economy. The sector still accounts for an estimated 26 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and represents a critical safety net for the 6.7 million Syrians – including those internally displaced - who still remain in rural areas. However, agriculture and the livelihoods that depend on it have suffered massive loss. Today, food production is at a record low and around half the population remaining in Syria are unable to meet their daily food needs.