Farmers are turning to digital technologies to grow and sell their products amid the combined impact of depressed sales to restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic and the graying of Japan's population, which is complicating the drive to raise productivity in the labor-intensive sector.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, an increasing number of farmers and fishers have drawn attention to their plight through Pocket Marche, an online service that brings them together with consumers.

"A substantial number of farmers lost their sales to restaurants due to the pandemic and flocked to our app to sell their products," said Pocket Marche Inc. CEO Hiroyuki Takahashi.