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Students' Fieldwork at Yamaga Town Shed Light on Current Farming Issues

Apr 20, 2005


NIWA Tatsuya (APS, Japan) as part of an APU Research Seminar conducted group fieldwork at Yamaga Town in Oita Prefecture. His experiences are detailed in the report below. Click on the link at the bottom of the page for a video clip.

Student Report on Agricultural Fieldwork at Yamaga Town in Oita Prefecture

On February 28, I was part of a group that reported our findings at the Agricultural Promotional Event at Yamaga Town in Oita Prefecture after conducting fieldwork that was part of a one-year seminar at APU.

As part of one of ICHIOKA Yasuko's seminars we were required to carry out fieldwork during the Fall Semester and make a video composition of it during the Spring Semester at one of the towns involved with Oita's 'One Town One Product.' Yamaga Town provided the backdrop for investigations and both the fieldwork and video was compiled around the four themes of 1) rice farming, 2) stock breeding, 3) corporate farming and 4) farming successors.

In the presentation at the Agricultural Promotional Event in Yamaga, we raised many of the problems concerning our group topic of rice farming that were discovered during the course of the fieldwork. Afterward, at the social gathering we showed our video about farming successors called 'Fun work – from the eyes of a 20 year old farmer.' There were some parts of the fieldwork and video composition that weren't investigated thoroughly enough due to the year-long time constraints, but the earnest opinions and questions from the agricultural guests at the social gathering gave me the impression that we were able to achieve some good results from the fieldwork.

A lot of people have a rather negative image/sentiment towards agriculture. And I was one of those people before. But, my perception changed significantly after spending a year mixing and talking with the farmers. One of the reasons my perception of farming changed was seeing first-hand how proud the farmers were of their crops. I try to take pride in my work and conduct everything with my best efforts, but I was impressed by the work that the farmers do. Most of us only know farmers in our capacity as consumers. And for many farmers they aren't aware of the final consumers of their products. I think it's this gap of knowledge between producers and consumers that produces some of the problems and misconceptions.

I think the agricultural problems that were uncovered in Yamaga are universal problems in Japan. From the perspective of society I hope to work towards finding a way to deal with the current problems in agriculture.

NIWA Tatsuya
(APS, Japan)

An extract of 26 minutes video production titled "RICE NETWORK – Uniting a Farmer and Consumer."
Please click here.


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