National

Damage to Japan's farm sector from natural disasters and extreme weather topped ¥560 billion in 2018

JIJI

The cost of damage to the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries from abnormal weather and natural disasters including typhoons and torrential rain stood at ¥567.9 billion in 2018, a government white paper said Tuesday.

The total also included damage caused by a powerful earthquake in Hokkaido.

The figure is the second highest in the past 10 years, after the ¥2.71 trillion logged in 2011, the year of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The sum for 2018 included ¥112.2 billion in damage to agricultural crops, ¥213.8 billion in damage to farmland and agricultural facilities, and ¥227.5 billion in damage to the forestry sector, which was heavily hit by landslides.

While damage to farm products from cold weather has declined in recent years due to climate change, damage from typhoons and heavy rain has increased, according to the white paper.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has quickened its decision-making process for support measures for farmers affected by natural disasters.

The ministry has also expanded the range of assistance depending on the type of disaster, including subsidies for reinforcing greenhouses and purchasing emergency electricity supply systems.

Also in the white paper, the government detailed efforts to promote “smart agriculture,” which uses information and communications technology and robotics, such as drones and unmanned tractors.

The report said that the nation’s exports of agriculture, forestry and fisheries products and food hit a record high for the sixth straight year in 2018.