In the field of “food production,” which is contained in the Yanmar Group Mission Statement, we are aiming to become a “resource-recycling-based solutions company” that provides customers with the highest levels of satisfaction in the world.
In Japan, we have established Agri Solutions centers in Kumamoto and Hokkaido, which provide customers with comprehensive agricultural management support. Overseas, meanwhile, with the aim of contributing to the modernization of agriculture and improving the quality of farmers’ lives, we have set up research facilities in Vietnam and Indonesia and new companies in India, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In this way, we are establishing an organizational structure for delivering new value from agriculture.
Solving various social issues relating to agriculture through “Solutioneering.”
The world’s population is increasing rapidly at the moment. Estimates from organizations such as the United Nations state that if the current pace of population growth continues, the population of the world will top 9 billion people in 2050. This is expected to cause a breakdown in the global supply and demand balance for food and result in severe food shortages. Another problem that has emerged in recent years is climate change resulting from increases in CO2 emissions. This is resulting in abnormal weather phenomena such as localized rainstorms and high temperatures around the world, and factors such as unpredictable weather conditions are beginning to have an impact on agriculture.
In Japan, meanwhile, the number of farmers is declining each year. Around 40% of farmers are 65 or older, i.e. are elderly, and problems such as a lack of successors are causing farmers to abandon the profession. In addition, Japan’s food self-sufficiency ratio in terms of calories is now under 40%, and Japan’s food miles are the highest of any advanced country due to produce such as grains, and soy beans being imported from faraway locations.
Major social issues relating to agriculture
World Population Growth
No. of Farmers and Proportion of Whom are 65 Years or Older
Forecast for World Food Demand
[in Vietnam] Enhancing agriculture in Vietnam with “improving the lives of farmers” as our top priority
Delivering solutions to enrich lives in Vietnam – a major agricultural nation
Vietnam is the number-two country in the world for both rice exports and coffee production, and has been enjoying a long period of economic growth, with an annual GDP growth rate of over 5%. Going forward, progress is expected to be made with the mechanization of agriculture, which should further increase the volume of farm produce harvested. In March 2013 the Yanmar Group established YANMAR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE VIETNAM (YARIV), an agricultural research facility, in the country. Since then the facility has been conducting surveys of agriculture and the social environment that surrounds it. The research facility has declared that the top priority in its basic policy is to “improve the lives of farmers.” Its intention is not so much to mechanize agriculture as to contribute to the development of Vietnamese agriculture as a whole by providing products and services that improve the quality of life for Vietnamese farmers and by helping them to enhance quality, including safety, and raise productivity.
Based on the results of surveys conducted in various parts of Vietnam, we intend to anticipate the future of agriculture and provide solutions that can deliver more prosperous lives to people involved in food production. To this end, we are planning products that can help customers solve problems, providing agriculture-related advice to contribute to the development of rural areas, playing an active part in joint industry-government-academia projects.
In April 2014 we established a local subsidiary, YANMAR AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY VIETNAM CO., LTD. This new subsidiary will work with the research facility to develop the local market and take swifter action to resolve issues.
Identifying optimal methods of cultivation for each region and proposing suitable mechanization solutions
The survey we conducted in FY2013 focused not only on basic matters such as farmers, farm villages, and rice distribution, but also on comparative evaluations of the transplantation and direct-sowing methods of rice cultivation. Even in the Mekong Delta region, which is located in the south of Vietnam, a variety of rice cultivation methods can be observed. Agricultural methods that would be unthinkable in Japan were seen. These included the joint cultivation of rice and crayfish, salty soil, highly acidic soil, and glutinous rice with long seedlings.
In promoting mechanization in Vietnam, it is important that the Yanmar Group identifies optimal cultivation methods for each region and propose mechanization solutions that are suited to those methods. Regarding the mechanization of rice planting for example, wetlands that are inhabited by crayfish, the optimal method of mechanization is to replace traditional planting by hand with planting by lightweight rice planting machines that are pushed by their operators.
In addition, farmers in many regions object to sparse planting, whereby a space is kept between the plants, so YARIV performed a comparative evaluation of a more than 20 different patterns.
It will provide data like this to farmers and the local agricultural authorities, and after gaining their understanding of which cultivation methods are suitable in each area, it will propose optimal mechanization solutions and cultivation methods.
Aiming to be a research facility that serves as an authority for improving agriculture in Vietnam
The FY2014 survey examined the situation with farmers in great detail. The types of farmers are diversifying. They include ordinary farmers, farmers who cultivate produce for an agricultural corporation, “trang trai” farmers (certified large-scale farmers), and corporations that invest directly in agriculture. In addition, the area surveyed was expanded to include the central and northern parts of the country. Furthermore, regarding the comparative evaluation of rice transplanting and direct-sowing, empirical tests and demonstrations were performed in conjunction with the agricultural authorities. We also produced more reliable data and engaged in activities that would lead to the sale of rice planting machines.
We also conducted research on agricultural chemicals and soil, created the foundation for an agricultural database, studied biomass raw materials and conducted a feasibility study concerning their commercialization in accordance with the Vietnamese government’s strategy, and participated in investigations into the possibility of establishing research clusters for the processing of farm produce and foods. We also took part in studies toward the formulation of an agricultural action plan involving the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and the national governments of Japan and Vietnam.
YARIV will continue to spearhead both hard (infrastructure) and soft (people) initiatives, with the aim of being a research facility that serves as an authority for improving agriculture in Vietnam.
From our employees Leveraging two strengths to provide farmers with new technology and help increase their incomes
Pham Thuy Mai Phuong
YANMAR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE VIETNAM
Nowadays Vietnamese Agricultural Industry has many hot issues, such as to develop high quality Vietnamese Rice, shift to other profitable agricultural products from rice, usage of agricultural residues, etc. Finding solutions for such issues, YARIV has been a part of contribution to the safe agricultural production while accelerate mechanization as the government policy. Located in the main campus of Can Tho university in the city, the heart of Mekong Delta, YARIV can easily connect to the farmers, listening to their needs and fulfill their demands. Till now, YARIV has the adequate knowledge of the local situation, particularly in mechanization and agricultural production activities. YARIV also build a strong local network to exchange information effectively between people and organizations. These two things will be easier for implementing YARIV expectations to bring the farmers new techniques and practices for a better profitable farming going with a sustainable development. Being a YARIV member, I am proud of my work to support YARIV missions helping the farmers towards the development Vietnamese agricultural sector, especially in the Mekong Delta, my hometown.