Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2005 > Chapter 2 Details about Japan's ODA > Section 2. Measures for Each of the Priority Issues > 1. Poverty Reduction > (4) Agricultural and Rural Development

(4) Agricultural and Rural Development

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 approximately 200 million people, which corresponds to one third of the population, suffer from hunger.12 To resolve this issue, it is necessary for developing countries to develop a sustainable food supply system.

A. Assistance for Improving Agricultural Production

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, like famine. Specifically, Japan has been implementing various forms of assistance, such as Grant Aid for Underprivileged Farmers which is designed to assist the self-help efforts of developing countries to improve food production by impoverished and/or small-scale farmers; assistance through grant aid and yen loans to contribute to efforts such as developing irrigation facilities and improving distribution systems; technical cooperation by accepting trainees and dispatching experts and JOCV members for such purposes as improving agricultural technology and fostering farmers' organizations; and assistance through grassroots human security grant aid for small-scale, community-level activities through NGOs. 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 areas of agriculture and fisheries in 2004 was the greatest among DAC countries, accounting for approximately 21% of all assistance given to this area.

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

B. Specific Activities

Regarding agricultural areas, in FY2005 Japan provided approximately ¥2.4 billion in grant aid for efforts like repairing irrigation facilities in Cambodia and Egypt. Japan has also provided approximately ¥51.1 billion in yen loans for efforts such as repairing and improving irrigation facilities in Pakistan and Viet Nam, and for the preservation of agricultural land in India.

    Concerning Grant Assistance for Underpriviledged Farmers, Japan provides funding to the governments of recipient countries and assists in importing the fertilizer and farm equipment needed to improve food productivity. The fertilizer and farm equipment procured in this manner are sold domestically, with the local currency acquired then used as counterpart funds in the projects to combat poverty within the country. For example, in Kenya procured fertilizer was distributed through the cooperation of local NGOs to farmers together with seeds that were procured separately. Japan's finely-detailed assistance includes training and instruction related to driving and maintenance that accompanied the provision of tractors to Swaziland.

    In addition, Japan provides assistance for the development of low-cost, water-saving irrigation facilities and the organization of farmers so they may take charge of the 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 FY2005 Japan implemented technical cooperation related to fostering farmer- participatory water management organizations and capacity development in the paddy field zones in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and other countries in the Asian monsoon region. Japan contributed to sustainable agriculture and rural development there, taking advantage of its knowledge and experience on the farmer-participatory water management organizations (Land Improvement District system). 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.

    Moreover, Japan also advances "integrated agricultural and rural development" cooperation in collaboration with international agencies. Local residents participate in this project, which involves formulating development plans for rural areas and developing infrastructure such as on-farm ditches and farm roads. Specifically, Japanese experts provide direct assistance to the local farmers 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 on-farm ditches and farm roads by means of farmers' labor on the premise that the donor would provide the necessary materials, and establishment of a stock fund designed for operation and maintenance of facilities. This Integrated Agricultural and Rural Development 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. For FY2005, Japan implemented capacity development for regional administrative personnel, and farmers in Mongolia. In conjunction with this, it has initiated a study to formulate a model plan for farming that uses land in a way conducive to preventing soil deterioration and for agriculture and rural development. These efforts were made using methods of rural development.

    Chart II-14 Disbursements in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Sectors by Region

Chart II-14 Disbursements in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Sectors by Region

Farmers constructing a waterway (Photo: Japanese Institute of Irrigation and Drainage)
Farmers constructing a waterway (Photo: Japanese Institute of Irrigation and Drainage)

C. Support for the Development and Dissemination of NERICA

Japan provides support for the development and dissemination of New Rice for Africa (NERICA), which is one concrete effort for increasing the agricultural productivity of Africa. In addition to assisting the activities of the Africa Rice Center (one of the CGIAR centers), which is the center of NERICA development, Japan provides assistance for dissemination projects through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In addition, since June 2004 Japan has dispatched one technical expert on NERICA dissemination to Uganda, and has thereby been promoting its dissemination in East Africa. As a result, not only has the cultivation surface area for NERICA expanded in Uganda, Guinea, and Cote d'Ivoire, but the cultivation of NERICA has begun in their surrounding countries as well. Furthermore, two experts on cultivation and seed multiplication have been dispatched to the Africa Rice Center from Japan since March 2005 to help support the activities of the African Rice Initiative (ARI), which was established for the purpose of effective dissemination of NERICA. Japan will continue to cooperate with international agencies, NGOs, and other concerned parties in order to expand rice production in African countries through the dissemination of NERICA, and improve its distribution, thereby contributing to food security in Africa (see Part I, Chapter 2, Section 4 for further details on NERICA).

D. Combating Desertification in Agricultural Areas

The issue of desertification has received attention as an important global challenge. It is also an issue for the agriculture sectors as well. Rain-fed agricultural zones which rely on natural rain water for farming are widely distributed throughout developing countries and comprise 85% of the agricultural areas in the world. However, as a result of overgrazing and overcultivation brought about by rapid population increases and poverty, the soil in agricultural land is deteriorating and desertification is progressing. In December 1998 Japan became a party to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and has promised to provide proactive and efficient assistance to developing countries. Among these efforts, Japan has developed various types of "technical manuals" for agriculture and rural development. This was accomplished after determining the state of desertification and analyzing its causes, as well as conducting trials on experimental agricultural fields at sites where the desertification has markedly advanced. In FY2005 Japan developed technical manuals for farmers regarding various technologies in order for farmers to have a rough overview of the technologies as well as to understand practice procedures. In addition, Japan also developed instruction manuals for efficient technology transfers from administrative organizations to farmers and conducted a study on promotion structures that make use of the private sector. These efforts were made with a view to implementing comprehensive, farmer-participatory agriculture and rural development, as well as to promote measures to prevent desertification. Hereafter, wide-ranging results can be expected, including the continued use of technologies concerning measures to prevent desertification through agriculture and rural development, as well as technology transfers to the surrounding areas.

Box II-3. Japan's Overseas Dependency for Food as Measured by Virtual Water

E. Efforts in the Area of Fisheries

In the area of fisheries, Japan has been providing assistance with the infrastructure development of fishing ports and fish markets, training equipment provision for fishery training centers, and technical cooperation related to fisheries and aquaculture industries. It also provides assistance by means of Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects for improving the livelihood of small fishermen through local fishery corporations. 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, which has been highly appreciated by ASEAN members.