Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi)
Online ISSN : 1884-0884
Print ISSN : 0022-135X
ISSN-L : 0022-135X
Short Article
Sustainable Factors in a Large-scale Vegetable-producing District: A Case Study of Tsumagoi Village of Gunma Prefecture
Toshiaki NISHINO
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2019 Volume 128 Issue 2 Pages 301-321

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Abstract

 Sustainable factors of large-scale vegetable production in Tsumagoi Village, a mountain village in Japan, are clarified. Tsumagoi Village is located about 150 km north of the capital, Tokyo. Most of its agricultural settlements are distributed from 800 m to 1,000 m above sea level, although the highest altitude of agricultural land is 1,400 m above sea level. The village's main industry, cabbage production, started before World War II and grew into the largest cabbage production resource in Japan after the war. There are three main reasons for Tsumagoi Village's success in cabbage production. The first is government agricultural policies. After World War II, Japan's population increased dramatically, and food supplies in urban areas became unstable. Tokyo and Yokohama City designated Tsumagoi Village as a stable source for vegetables. The government converted vast forests into agricultural farmland, which became the foundation for cabbage production in the village. Cultivation in Tsumagoi Village increased gradually; in the late 1970s, the average plot of land for most farmers was 4.5 ha but, in recent years, it has not been uncommon for farmers to cultivate plots that exceed 10 ha. The second is the development of distribution channels in the form of agricultural cooperatives. The Tsumagoi Village Agricultural Cooperative is part of Japan's nationwide distribution network, which was established specifically to supply large quantities of cabbage to Japan's national market. In addition to these cooperative networks, some farmers also contracted directly with brokers to establish their own distribution channels. The third is stable farming management. The incomes of large farms in Tsumagoi Village today are much higher than those of farms in other parts of Japan. High agricultural income has long been an incentive for attracting successors, and many young farmers have grown up involved in cabbage production and distribution. In recent years, however, Tsumagoi's farms have been unable to secure enough workers for the cabbage harvest; most turn to the government's foreign technical training system.

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© 2019 Tokyo Geographical Society
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