With new government regulations formed to support welfare workshops specifically for disabled people, we could see agriculture across Japan begin to regrow. These new initiatives are designed to help disabled people that are interested in starting their own agricultural business. With over 100 million people in Japan who have a disability, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has suggested that this new initiative could work towards making a more active society.
Marketing experts and agricultural experts will be sent out during the workshops to provide the base skills needed to start a small farming business or to sell agricultural products. The overall goal of the program is to provide increased pay for disabled people across the agriculture industry as well as the ability to supplement the industry with more workers.
The average disabled person employed in a sheltered workshop usually only receives around ¥22,898 (~US$200) per month in 2013. The plan suggests providing disabled people with more skills will lead to an overall wage increase which can improve the value of farms, the value of the agriculture industry, as well as supplements given to disabled workers in wage raises. Programs like this could diminish the wage gap between the average disabled person and the typical worker across Japan.
The overall goal of the program could be to one day increase the six sector industrialization of the agriculture industry. Farmers will be able to produce their crop, handle food processing as well as the sales and marketing of their products in a full service business. This can only add value to the agriculture industry and improve the economy as a whole.
Over ¥110 million has been allotted to this draft budget. This funding will be distributed across 15 different workshop projects and this will benefit a number of different nonprofit organizations. 33% of workshops for disabled people are currently involved in the agriculture industry with an estimated 12.7% interested in pursuing agriculture jobs in the future.
With a drain of talent in the agriculture industry and with many experienced farmers facing retirement, the program could utilize a vast array of abandoned farmland and improve the food growing capability of the country as well as the economy.
Source: The Japan News