The purpose of this article is to determine the least cost communication terminal and network for farmers' marketing groups to collect information about vegetables and fruits marketing originating daily from many wholesale markets. The costs for a large scale farmers' marketing group and a small scale one sampled from the same prefecture to communicate with respective wholesale markets are compared among using of telephones, facsimilies and computers. Then the same costs for two large scale groups of different locations are compared among using public telephone network, packet switched network by packet terminal and packet switched network by no-packet terminal. The results from the analysis are as follows. 1) A large scale group as well as a small scale one uses telephones to collect information about vegetables' and fruits' marketing from the respective market. They show scale economies in collecting information. 2) The least cost communication terminal for a large scale group is a computer which disperses its fixed cost over a large amount of information, whereas it for a small scale group is telephone which has to spread its fixed cost over a small amount of information. 3) A large scale group which uses a computer to communicate with markets can process and analyze daily marketing data, differentiating its marketing function from that of the small scale group. 4) The least cost communication network using a computer is public telephone network for a large scale group located near the main market, from where marketing information about most kinds of vegetables and fruits is originated, and packet switched network by packet terminal for the same group lacated remote from the main market.
The Objective of this paper is to study the effects of land improvement especially from the viewpoint to the structural change of regional agriculture in semimountainous rural areas. The study is based on my survey in Tsubaichi, Sasayama Town, Hyogo Prefecture. The followings are the major findings. 1) 60% of the farmars' multicriteria assesments of the effects of land improvement are explained by such dimensions as labor saving effects, and yield increasing effect. 2) 40-70% of the variation in the farmers' assesments among communities is explained by the indices of scale, geographical features, off-farm employment and investment in machinery equipments. 3) Working hours per unit area have been reduced by half because small and scattered farm plots that were characteristic for farm land structure of semimountainous rural areas were dissolved by the land improvement. Thus the level of part-time farmers' welfare has been raised. 4) Land improvement has promoted the cultivation of upland crops in paddy field and the production of the special regional products.
As is generally known, the population of the aged have been increasing faster in the rural area than in the urban area. Especially in semimountainous rural area there are only a few large-scale farmhouseholds which have young people engaged in their farming. Thus the aged in that area have to continue farming because they cannot lease their farming to such large farmhouseholds. There are many problems other than this in semimountainous rural area, but these problems of the aged in agricultural production in that area have been slighted in the field of agricultural economics. The aim of this paper is to clarify the roles of the aged in maintenance of agricultural production and rural society in semimountainous rural area, and the factors affecting these roles. As a result of a survey in Oku-Noto, a typical semimountainous rural area, many of the aged have no successors in their farm management and there are only a few farmhouseholds which hope to accumlate the farm land of the aged. Thus, many of the aged do not give up farming and they contribute greatly for the maintenance of agricultural production and rural society. Their contributions are affected by many factors. As regards agricultural production, their contributions are affected by choice of crops, installation of agricultural facilities and natural environments. As regards rural social activities, their contributions are affected by their experiences in off-farn jobs.