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Japan's big farm lender taps FamilyMart to boost produce sales

Joint investment with co-op aims to widen retail channels for agri sector

Japan's aging farm sector may be able to reap better returns thanks to the tie-up with FamilyMart.

TOKYO -- Japan's Norinchukin Bank and the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, or Zen-Noh, will jointly invest 57 billion yen ($545 million) in the FamilyMart convenience store chain to sell farm products through the store's nationwide network.

The investment by two core members of JA Group, an agricultural collective, is aimed at bolstering distribution of domestic farm output. Until now, the bank has done this mainly via direct loans to farmers.

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