With the aid of bacteria that lowers the level of sodium in soil, a farmer in the city of Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture, harvested 150 tomatoes last month on farmland that was swamped by the March 11 tsunami.
The cyanobacteria — also called blue-green algae — is found in seawater and sludge on the seafloor. Since it consumes salt when it photosynthesizes, it lowers the level of sodium when mixed in soil.
Read the rest of the story: Farmer recovers tsunami-hit land.
Japanese agriculture is in a free-fall decline. In the years between 1960 and 2005, the share of agricultural output in gross domestic product (GDP) dropped from 9% to 1%, the food self-sufficiency ratio from 79% to 41%, and agricultural land, indispensable for food security, from 6.09 million hectares to 4.63 million hectares.
Meanwhile, the ratio of part-time farm households, which derive more than half their income from non-farm employment, increased from 32.1% to 61.7%. The percentage of farmers over 65 years old also jumped from 10% to 60%. Gross agricultural output in 2006 was 8.5 trillion yen (US$93.4 billion), less than the sales volume of Panasonic, which stood at 9.1 trillion yen in the same year.
Read the rest of the story: High rice prices feed Japan’s farming woes
Photo by kayakaya