Business

Loss-making Japanese public-private farm fund may be dissolved

JIJI

The finance and farm ministries will “thoroughly” review the operations of a struggling public-private investment fund aimed at supporting the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, and may opt to dissolve it, sources with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

They believe it would be difficult to turn the fund around as its cumulative losses have ballooned to ¥9.2 billion, and the amount of money it has invested remains far lower than initially expected, according to the sources.

The fund, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Fund Corp. for Innovation, Value-Chain and Expansion Japan, also known as A-FIVE, is expected to stop making fresh investments at the end of March 2021, while continuing to support entities already in receipt of investments from the fund for the time being, the sources said.

If it is dissolved, a new fund may be set up to take over its ongoing investment projects, the sources said.

The fund was launched in 2013 and the central government has put up ¥30 billion out of a total of ¥31.9 billion in investment resources.

In the April-September half of fiscal 2019, the fund’s investments totaled only ¥1.6 billion, against a target of ¥3.3 billion.

The fund has a goal of investing ¥11 billion for the whole of the fiscal year.

At a news conference on Tuesday, however, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Taku Eto said that it appears “almost impossible” for the fund to achieve that goal, adding that his ministry would conduct the thorough review.