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Agriculture

Japan to set up model field in India to promote farm tech

Project will help companies demonstrate chemicals, fertilizers, high-yield seeds to local farmers

India is among the world's leading producers of rice, wheat and onions.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's agriculture ministry has begun a project to boost demand for Japanese farming technology in India, by setting up a test field there to demonstrate the effective use of advanced agrochemicals, fertilizers and high yield seeds to local farmers.

The test field will be located near Ahmedabad in Gujarat, western India, an area where economic development is under way. The agriculture ministry will showcase Japanese farming technologies by partnering with local nongovernmental organizations. These technologies are aimed at increasing production of cucumbers, tomatoes and leaf vegetables.

Earlier this month, 24 companies attended a local briefing on the project. Planting will begin as early as October after participating companies are finalized. The agriculture ministry has been conducting research on the business environments of emerging economies, but this is the first time it has initiated a joint effort with the private sector to tap new demand and expand sales channels.

Participating companies will be asked to contribute raw materials and machinery for the test field. Their involvement in the project should help their efforts to sell seeds, seedlings and farming machinery in India. They will also be asked to provide advice and maintenance as needed so that local farmers can learn to use the seeds and farming machinery properly. 

Japanese agricultural companies have made inroads into India in such areas as farming machinery, seeds and fertilizers. But because they promote their businesses separately, problems have occurred such as seeds not being managed well or high-tech machinery not being used properly. The agriculture ministry hopes that setting up a government-led project in which agricultural companies can participate together will help Japanese companies promote their products.

India is one of the world's largest producers of rice, wheat and onions. But it has fallen behind in the introduction of farming machinery and irrigation technologies, resulting in a huge gap in productivity and yields in the country. An agriculture ministry survey shows that effective fertilizers are not widely or properly used. Meanwhile, compact farming machines made by Japanese companies are popular in India because they suit the smaller fields there.

India's food and drink market generated 48 trillion yen ($450 billion) in 2015. The agriculture ministry forecasts the market will expand by 120% to 104 trillion yen in 2030 due to the growth in the population and the economy. More detailed forecasts include the fresh food market to jump from 36 trillion yen to 80 trillion yen and the processed food market from 8 trillion yen to 19 trillion yen in the same period.

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