Nature Farming Method Open Seminar with Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Officials


Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Hopes are high for MOA to advance the Green Strategy

On February 17, a public seminar as part of a seminar session for executives of the MOA Nature Farming Culture Foundation (president: Masanori Sugimoto) was held at the MOA Zuiun Hall in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture. 60 people participated, including executives, producers, and distributors. The seminar was also streamed live to MOA Nature Farming Method outreach meetings and other venues around the country, with many people viewing. They learned about the progress of the Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems, which aims to ensure a stable food supply through measures such as expanding the area of land worked for organic farming, and about community enrichment work using the Nature Farming Method.



Haruya Shimizu, Coordinator of the Green Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems Group, Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, gave a lecture titled “Towards Building a Sustainable Food System – Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems.” Against the backdrop of an unsustainable situation, including global climate change, excessive greenhouse gas emissions, and dependence on imported fertilizer raw materials, he introduced the outline of the Green Strategy, which encourages efforts by people involved in each stage of material procurement, production, processing/distribution, and consumption, with the aim of reducing the use of chemical pesticides by 50% and chemical fertilizers by 30%, and increasing the proportion of land area dedicated to organic farming to 25% (1 million hectares) by 2050.


He then introduced various promotion measures, such as the “Green Certification,” which certifies that farmers are environmentally friendly and allows them to receive preferential treatment in tax systems and other areas, and called for their utilization. In addition, he introduced recent developments, such as the inclusion in the Basic Law of the establishment of a food system that is in harmony with the environment, as well as examples of efforts to reduce the environmental impact. He then shared the status of the creation of Organic Villages, which have spread to 92 cities and towns. He expressed his hope that MOA will continue to make further efforts, such as creating more of such villages and expanding designated areas that promote community-wide efforts to reduce the environmental impact.



Professor Hirokazu Nakai, emeritus professor at Shizuoka University, reported on the publication of the book “In Search of Nature Farming Method Rice: Landscapes that Create Life, People Who Believe in the Power of the Soil,” which is a compilation of essays that were serialized in the Natural Farming Culture Foundation’s journal, “MOA Nature Farming Method.” He emphasized that the Nature Farming Method, an agricultural technique, philosophy, and way of lifestyle, can be a great ray of hope in these turbulent times when the Earth and humanity are facing a crisis. The author’s work on growing rice suitable for the Nature Farming Method without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, introduces the new varieties of rice that have been created. In particular, “Kumaminori” has been shown to have the effect of healing and suppressing allergic dermatitis such as atopic dermatitis. The book gives an overview of the author’s work, and he hopes that the Nature Farming Method will serve as a source of inspiration for people to live better lives.



Takayoshi Yamaguchi, CEO of Yamaguchi Farm Ltd.—which produces organic vegetables in Uda City, Nara Prefecture, the first city to declare itself as an Organic Village and does business with MOA Shoji Co., Ltd.—reported on the work of the Yamaguchi Farm. Although he had no prior experience with agriculture, he quit his job when he inherited his father-in-law’s farmland. He then incorporated it, and now, with a staff of 56, he produces spinach, komatsuna, and other crops organically in 170 greenhouses. He also talked about how he has come to this point, as well as his shared company motto, efforts such as improving efficiency through a division of labor. He uses the “Green Certification” promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and B-grade vegetables to reduce food waste, human resource development, and collaboration with local businesses.



Koichi Yoshii of the Nankoku Extension Association, a new farmer who runs the Yoshi Farm in Kochi Prefecture, gave a report titled “Aiming for the Health of My Mother and Myself – From Farming without Adding Any Chemicals to Cultivation.” He explains how his mother was no longer able to eat commercially available vegetables due to a serious illness, but she was happy to eat vegetables grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. He, too, personally experienced their deliciousness. He then explained how he decided to return to his hometown to become a farmer in order to ensure a supply of organic vegetables for his mother. He explained that after trial and error on farmland with poor drainage and on sea sand, the land became possible to cultivate the plant by improving the soil with green manure. Based on the principle of growing the right crop in the right place, he introduced the actual cultivation and processing of garlic and ginger. The presenters also participated in discussions and Q&A sessions, making for a very productive seminar session.



Participants commented on the lecture, “The Green Strategy policies are even more comprehensive than before, which is very reassuring,” and about the case studies, “The consideration for the local community, everyone, and the environment was wonderful, and I learned a lot as a manager,” and “It was good to hear even the explanation on failure examples. I realized that listening to the voices of farmers and observing them is really important.”


Symposium held in Kannami Town, Shizuoka Prefecture
The theme was “Why Do We Work on Green Strategies?”


On March 9, the “Symposium on Connecting People, Community, and the Future through Organic Farming – Green Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems and Organic Farming” (sponsored by the Symposium Executive Committee) was held at the Kannami Town Cultural Center in Shizuoka Prefecture, and was attended by approximately 250 people, including producers and consumers from neighboring cities and towns.


Ms. Makiko Kubo, Head of the Green Strategy for Sustainable Food Systems Group, Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, gave a lecture titled “The Food System Promoted by the Government in the Era Of SDGs – Why Undertake a Strategy for a Sustainable Food System?”; and Mr. Kanehiro Oyama, Assistant Director of the Agricultural Environment Measures Division, Agriculture Production Bureau, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, gave a lecture titled “Towards the Expansion of Organic Farming.” With the global environment exceeding its limits in many ways, they called for cooperation in works to reduce the environmental burden.



Tatsuya Suzuki, who works in organic farming and the Nature Farming Method in Mishima City; Touji Asada, a producer in Izu City; and Junichi Tashiro, head of the Agriculture and Forestry Division of the Industry Department of Izunokuni City, which is holding on-site organic farming seminar sessions for producers with the cooperation of the Agriculture, Environment and Health Research Institute, a public interest incorporated foundation, each gave a presentation on the details of their works. A panel discussion on the promotion of organic farming in the Izu area was also held, moderated by Shoji Mizuno, representative of the Kannami Town Organic Agriculture Promotion Council Preparatory Committee.



Given that the current agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries cannot be considered sustainable due to the effects of global warming, a decrease in and aging of producers, and the decline of the community, participants raised awareness of the need to promote the Green Strategy by working to reduce the environmental burden on both producers and consumers, with a focus on expanding the use of organic farming and Nature Farming methods.