熊本市河内町におけるミカン産地の維持とその要因 : 集出荷業者の果たしてきた役割に注目して [in Japanese] Factors in the Survival of Satsuma Orange Production Areas in the Kawachi District, Kumamoto, Japan : Focus on the Role of Jobbers in Producing Areas [in Japanese]
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This study attempted to elucidate the roles that minor fruit and vegetable shipment organizationsin a market dominated by a few major distribution chains have recently played in the survival of production areas, with the focus on jobbers in production areas and the roles of picking, packing, and sales. For a case study, we chose the Kawachi district of Kumamoto, which has many jobbers in producing areas. Their activities in the collection and sales of produce helped the production areas thrive beyond the mid-1970s when most of the Satsuma orange-producing areas declined due to the following.<br> 1) During the 20 years after World War II, the Kawachi district achieved rapid growth in Satsuma orange production. In prewar times, Kawachi was a famous Satsuma orange-producing area in Kyushu, but after the war, farmers in Kawachi expanded rapidly in a very short time. They were very active in buying and cultivating forests in the south of the prefecture, reachable within about 1 hour from Kawachi. The rapid growth was reflected in the ability to produce at low cost when the price of Satsuma oranges plummeted after the mid-1970s.<br> 2) During the period when the price of Satsuma oranges was very low, successful farmers responded positively to market needs and specialized. For example, they switched from regular Satsuma oranges to very fast-growing or very sweet varieties and placed plastic sheets on the ground to control the water content of the soil. The favorable climate enabled Satsuma oranges to be grown early. In addition, the growers already had good techniques and a history of production.<br> 3) The farmers in Kawachi were able to ship Satsuma oranges to jobbers under relatively relaxedconditions. They did not have to pick and ship certain types of produce at certain times, or a certain quantity in a given day or during a certain length of time. Furthermore, they had an interest in the selection criteria beforehand. Such trust between the farmers and jobbers stemmed from a labor force shortage and the fact that the farmers were aging. Moreover, for owners of large farms, this set-up was better than being a member or an agricultural cooperative association in terms of labor cost.<br> However, the jobbers faced difficulties in selling Satsuma oranges in the 1990s when Satsuma oranges mainly fell into two price ranges depending on their quality, and the overall trend for a stable fixed delivery strengthened. They faced difficulties because they had not been dividing and selling the Satsuma oranges in lots according to the variety or sweetness and had been selling at local markets where the price would plummet when there was a surplus. The latter problem was compounded by the absence of orange juice manufacturers who could have bought up the surplus, and thus stabilized the price somewhat. In contrast, agricultural cooperative associations were ableto increase their sales because they could sort and package according to their sugar content, measured by a device that they introduced.<br> Finally, many jobbers, who are not members of the established system, continue to work today inthe production areas. This means that they are helping to support sales of the produce of farmersthat have an otherwise weak labor force and the distribution of nonstandard Satsuma oranges orsmall quantities that the agricultural cooperative associations do not handle. It is predicted that, inthe near future, Satsuma, oranges in Kawachi will be mainly picked, packed, and sold by agriculturalcooperative associations, which are in a strong sales position, and that the jobbers will remainindependent and continue to offer various services to local farmers in response to their needs.
- Geographical review of Japan series A
Geographical review of Japan series A 79(9), 455-480, 2006-08-01
The Association of Japanese Geographers