Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2004 > Chapter 2 Details and New Policies about Japan's ODA:Striving for Further ODA Reforms > Section 2. Measures for Each of the Priority Issues > 1. Poverty Reduction > (4) Agricultural and Rural Development

(4) Agricultural and Rural Developmentx

Agricultural and rural development is essential in reducing poverty because in developing countries around 70% of the poor live in rural areas and make a living mainly on agriculture. Therefore, MDGs set the reduction of poverty and eradication of hunger as the main objectives, stating it will "halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the world's people who suffer from hunger." The situation is especially grave in Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is said that over 200 million people, which is about one-fourth of the population, suffer from hunger. To resolve this issue, it is necessary to develop a sustainable food supplying system. Therefore, under the recognition that hunger is preventable, agreement was made at the G8 Sea Island Summit in June 2004 to launch three new initiatives 18 through collaboration among developing countries, donor countries, international organizations, private sectors, NGOs, etc., to promote rural development and raise agricultural productivity in regions suffering from food shortages. At the Gleneagles Summit held in July 2005, Japan emphasized the need for comprehensive support to Africa in order to raise agricultural productivity, to strengthen urban-rural linkages, and to empower the poor, which will be carried out under the initiative of developing countries. These points were included as part of the joint official document on Africa.

Chart 15. Provisions Made in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Sectors by Region

Chart 15. Provisions Made in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Sectors by Region

Together with providing food assistance to developing countries faced with food shortages, as a short-term effort to avoid a crisis, Japan is simultaneously carrying out assistance for mid- to long-term efforts to improve agricultural productivity in developing countries from the viewpoint of removing and preventing factors that are causing food problems including famine. Since the improvement of agricultural productivity is indispensable for development of rural regions, Japan intends to support the formulation of agriculture-related policy, development of infrastructure such as irrigation facilities and farm roads, dissemination and research/development of production technologies such as NERICA (New Rice for Africa) in Africa, and strengthening of community organizations. Specifically, Japan has been implementing various forms of assistance, such as "Grant Assistance for Underprivileged Farmers" (the name was changed from "Increase of Food Production" in FY2005), which includes provisions of fertilizer, agricultural equipment, other materials and training; assistance through grant aids and loan aids to contribute to efforts such as developing irrigation facilities and improving distribution systems; technological cooperation by accepting trainees and dispatching experts and Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers members for such purposes as improving agricultural technology; and assistance through grassroots human security grant aid for small-scale, community-level activities through NGOs and others. The amount of assistance provided for the area of agriculture by Japan is high compared to global standards. According to the OECD-DAC data, the volume of Japan's assistance in the area of agriculture in 2003 was the greatest among DAC countries, accounting for approximately 40% of all assistance given to this area.

In FY2004, Japan provided approximately ¥2.4 billion in grant aid to the area of agriculture in Vietnam and Nicaragua for such projects as local roads constructions to promote distribution between urban and rural areas. Furthermore, it has offered approximately ¥82.7 billion in yen loans for such projects as irrigation and local roads development in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.

An example of a unique effort by Japan is the assistance for the development of low-cost, water-saving irrigation facilities and the organization of farmers so they may take charge of operation and maintenance of such facilities themselves. The purpose of such assistance is to secure a stable water supply for agriculture and promote efficient water-use. In FY2004, Japan provided both "hard" and "soft" assistance to Cambodia and other countries, targeting paddy fields where small irrigation ditches were not sufficiently developed, helping to develop irrigation facilities and establish farmer organizations. In Thailand, farmers' water management organizations have already been organized with Japan's assistance, referring to the land improvement districts. Farmers have begun to take charge of their own management and make efforts to use water efficiently.

Column 4 People Benefiting from NERICA

Moreover, Japan advances the "Rural Development Project" in cooperation with international organizations. Local residents participate in this project, which involves formulating development plans for rural areas and developing such infrastructures as terminal irrigation ditches and farm roads. Specifically, Japanese experts provide direct assistance to the local farmers from both the "hard" and "soft" ends, including the formulation of plans for land and water use through farmers' participation, establishment and enhancement of farmers' organization for managing facilities and sharing farming equipment, development of terminal irrigation ditches and farm roads, etc., by means of farmers' labor on the premise that the donor side would provide the necessary materials, and establishment of a stock fund designed for operation and maintenance of facilities. Such a "Rural Development Project" does not only bring about direct effects to the farms, but is also a useful cooperative method in inducing and promoting the self-help efforts of the local governments, as well as the farmers. In FY2004, Japan implemented, among other measures, assistance for environmental protection plans related to the soil and water protection of the small drainage basin in the dry inland region of Chile.

As rice production is unable to keep up with growing demand in many African countries, rice imports are increasing. Therefore, it has become important to not only provide assistance in the research and development of NERICA, but also to further promote the dissemination of NERICA in order to increase rice production. From the viewpoint of utilizing Asia's experience for Africa in the area of agriculture, Japan has been assisting in the development of NERICA, high-yield potential, disease-resistant rice species that were developed through crossing Asian high-yield potential rice species and African ones resistant to diseases and weeds. To this end, Japan contributes funding to the Africa Rice Center (West Africa Rice Development Association ( WARDA )), which is the center of NERICA development, and also assists in dissemination activities through UNDP. The financial assistance funded by Japan to NERICA-related projects amounts to a total of US$6.4 million between 1997, when the assistance for NERICA began, and 2004. As a result, in Guinea and Cote d'lvoire, the cultivation of NERICA has spread extensively up to small-scale farms. Furthermore, two experts on cultivation and seed multiplication were dispatched from Japan in March 2005 to help support the activities of the African Rice Initiative ( ARI ), which was established under WARDA for the purpose of effective dissemination of NERICA. Japan will continue to work with international organizations, NGOs, and other entities to promote the dissemination of NERICA and expand production of rice in African countries, as well as to improve distributions in order to contribute to food security in the African region.

Japan also provides assistance in the area of agriculture through such international organizations as the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ), International Fund for Agricultural Development ( IFAD ), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research ( CGIAR ), and United Nations World Food Programme ( WFP ).

In the area of fisheries, Japan has been providing assistance with the infrastructure development of fishing ports, fish markets, etc., survey equipment provision for fishery-related job training centers, and technical cooperation related to fisheries and aquaculture industries. It also provides assistance by means of grassroots human security grant aid for improving the livelihood of small fishermen through local fisheries associations. Furthermore, in terms of assistance through regional international organizations, Japan offers assistance to the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center ( SEAFDEC ) in the development of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture industries within the ASEAN region. ASEAN members appreciate the Japanese assistance through SEAFDEC.