What is the outlook for animal agribusiness recruitment in Japan?
Farming, agriculture, and fisheries form one of the cornerstones of the Japanese economy but despite this, just 20% of land in Japan is suitable for agricultural cultivation and the country’s agricultural economy is supported by large subsidies. Furthermore, Japan’s agricultural sector is hampered by the country’s unique geography which has resulted in most of the available land being intensively cultivated, with the majority of the countryside given over to field farming and rice paddies. As such, Japan’s agricultural sector accounts for approximately 1% of its GDP.
Despite this, the Japanese government has set several ambitious goals for its agricultural strategy, covering everything from food exports and the development of sustainable food systems, through to better use of food tech and a more coordinated response to avian influenza and classical swine fever. Hopefully the introduction of these measures means that animal agribusiness recruitment agencies in Japan, such as Peak Recruit, will see an increase in recruitment in the animal agribusiness segment.
Livestock farming recruitment in Japan
Japanese farmers tend to focus the on the production of crops which means that the production of livestock only plays a small role in the country’s agricultural activity. However, Japan has earned a worldwide reputation for the superb quality of its meat, with types of beef such as Wagyu being highly sought after by discerning chefs and diners. Thanks to the prestige surrounding premium beef products, such items can command very high prices in Japan.
Although premium beef products present such a potentially lucrative income stream, cattle farming and the associated sectors which surround it, seem to hold little appeal to Japanese farmers, especially amongst the younger generation. Beef farming is extremely demanding physically, whilst many farmers find it barely profitable, despite the high prices of some beef products. As such, there are few newcomers to cattle farming and many farming families are finding it difficult to pass on their businesses to the next generation.
To compound the problems faced by Japan’s livestock farming industry further, those working in the industry are ageing which is resulting in a decline in the number of households who farm commercially. This means that because Japan’s self-sufficiency remains stubbornly low, the country is relying upon imports of agricultural products to feed the nation. Whilst a drive-in animal agricultural recruitment in Japan is likely to be part of the solution, how can Japan the address the potential collapse of the traditional side of its heavily subsidised farming industry?
Recruiting for organic farming in Japan
Moving towards a more sustainable and organic approach to farming is likely to prove challenging for Japanese farmers as the rainy season of early summer leads to heavy rain and floodwater which slow down root growth and washes away soil. This period of intense rainfall is followed by extreme heat which encourages insect propagation and accelerates the growth of weeds. As a result, soil-damaging chemicals are often used to prevent the spread of insects and weeds. Healthy soil is, of course, essential for organic farming.
Despite Japan’s challenging climate, the production of certified organic produce and the area of organic farmland are increasing, demonstrating heightened consumer demand for organic fresh food and an increase in awareness of environmentally friendly, sustainable farming practices.
Back in 2000 in an effort to further encourage organic farming, the Japanese Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries introduced the Act of Japanese Agricultural Standards to enable the certification of organic plants, organic farmland and plant-based processed foods made from organic ingredients. Fast-forward to 2020 and the Japanese Agricultural Standards now also verifies organic livestock products and animal-derived organic processed foods produced with the official guidelines covering everything from sustainable production through to labelling.
Although organic farming still only plays a small role in Japan’s animal agribusiness sector, it’s clear that government and consumers are increasingly aware of its importance and potential significance. Therefore, it is hoped that organic farming is likely to be another area in which we see an increase in animal agribusiness recruitment in Japan.
Vertical farming in Japan
As already mentioned, animal agribusiness and Japan’s agricultural sector are facing numerous threats in the form of an ageing workforce, environmental challenges and urbanisation. To counteract problems such as these, the sector is moving towards some of the latest technical farming innovations.
Vertical farming is one of these innovations, designed to enable large quantities of fresh produce to be grown indoors using a stacking system on floor-to-ceiling shelving. Produce is moved, watered and fed by automatically programmed machinery, with artificial light to guarantee quality and consistency. This approach to crop production eradicates dependency upon the season and variations in weather to encourage stable pricing. As such, vertical farming is proving an attractive option for Japanese consumers.
There are, however, some disadvantages to vertical farming which are deterring investors. High initial set-up costs are one consideration, whilst the energy required for lighting and machinery is considerable. Nevertheless, utilising renewable energy sources would be a step in the right direction and would help to make vertical farming a commercially successful, affordable, and environmentally friendly option.
Although vertical farming is, at present, only used for crop production, it’s worth considering whether a similar approach could be adopted for animal agribusiness. Smart solutions are now widely in use in automated dairy milking operations, poultry, and pork production. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if Japanese farmers decide to make better use of technology in order to improve the country’s self-sufficiency. It’s hoped that animal agribusiness recruitment specialists in Japan, such as Peak Recruit, will see an increase in demand for individuals with skills in agri-tech, animal production and farm management, research, and development and more.
Contact Peak Recruit – your animal agribusiness recruitment specialists in Japan
Our Animal Agriculture division covers all aspects of the animal husbandry and aquaculture segments in Japan and throughout the Asia Pacific region. Thanks to our expertise in this area we are uniquely positioned to serve our clients requirements. We worth with talented individuals by matching them with the latest roles, and with businesses to recruit the very best. Why not get in touch to find out more about our animal agribusiness recruitment agency in Japan?