Fil young leaders off to Japan to learn new agri practices, techniques

All bundled up, PEF senior KM officer Anna Brillante-Vibar, together with 14 young leaders from government and non-government organizations in the Philippines, braved the frigid cold to discover the secrets to successful farming in Japan.

From January 8 to 24, 2019, the participants joined the ‘Knowledge Co-Creation Program for Young Leaders’ of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a technical cooperation program aimed at promoting human resources development and nation-building in developing countries.

Seki City in Gifu prefecture, known for high-quality Japanese knives, boasts of its locally ‘famous’ fruits and vegetables sold in farmers markets and tourist shops.

One organization behind the success of the farmers in Seki City is the Japan Agricultural Cooperative (JA) Megumino. JA helps farmers and other cooperative members in almost all their needs: credit, nursing services, bulk purchasing, mutual insurance, and even funeral services.

As one of the JA officials explained, their organization constantly develop programs to increase the farmers’ crop production and create stable incomes.

“Farmers are given support on farm management, procurement of agricultural supplies, processing and marketing of agricultural products.  Members also get to use the agricultural facilities for a fee. Once the produce is sold, farmers almost gets 97% of the profit.”

Although a private company, JAs and farmers reach a mutual agreement to improve the quality and volume of their harvested products.

“One farmer with 1,000 square meters of land can produce six to eight tons of eggplant. An eggplant tree is capable of bearing 13 kilos produce.”

After the whole day activity of visiting different farms, the team went back to the JICA Chubu Center and discussed how these learnings and discoveries can be ‘adopted’ to their respective organizations.  

‪“It might seem that Philippine agriculture is far from achieving the level where Japan is now, but I believe we can do it if all of us learn and embody the concept of “Sanpo-yoshi” or “3-sides-good”, which means whatever benefits you, should also benefit your partner and the society “, Anna shared.

The temperature may have dropped in this part of Japan, but Anna and her team have high hopes about the future of the agriculture sector in the Philippines and its strategic role in the economic development of the country.