70% of farmers tilling land again


Some 70 percent of the farmers in nine prefectures hit by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis last year have resumed farming, according to the agriculture ministry.

In Aomori, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Niigata prefectures, all farmers had returned to work as of March 11 this year, the ministry said.

More than 90 percent of the growers in Nagano and Iwate have resumed operations, while only 54.2 percent of farmers in Miyagi and 56.0 percent in Fukushima have decided to resume farming since the calamity.

Many farmers in Miyagi were kept off the land because of tsunami damage, but most of the farmers in Fukushima blamed the effects of the nuclear disaster for keeping them away.

Fishermen, meanwhile, are returning at a slower pace. In Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, a combined 58.3 percent of the fishermen were back at sea a year after the calamity, the ministry said.

The figure was 100 percent in Chiba, 99.0 percent in Hokkaido and 95.1 percent in Aomori, but only 1.8 percent in Fukushima.

In all seven prefectures except Fukushima, the main hurdle to resuming fishing was a shortage of boats and equipment.