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NFF to host Japan’s peak farm body

4 November 2013

This week, the peak national representative bodies of two of the world’s key agricultural countries, Australia and Japan, will come together in Canberra to discuss the big issues facing farmers and the wider agricultural sector.

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) will host a visit from the Central Union of Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA Zenchu), the powerful Japanese peak farm body, on Wednesday and Thursday this week aimed at strengthening the relationship between the two countries, gaining a greater understanding of the key challenges facing both agricultural sectors, and discussing some of the key issues on the agenda.

This will be the third time the NFF has met with its Japanese counterpart this year, with NFF President Duncan Fraser meeting representatives from JA Zenchu, including its President Akira Banzai, in Tokyo and Brunei in April, and issuing an invitation for them to visit Australia.

“Japan is the second largest market for Australian agriculture – we export 12 percent of our agricultural produce, including beef, sugar, dairy and grains to Japan – which is why it is important to have a strong relationship with this key trading partner,” Mr Fraser said.

“The purpose of our time with the JA Zenchu delegation is to help us better understand the shared challenges and opportunities for agriculture in Australia and Japan. It’s a conversation we started in April with our trip to Japan; now we’re hosting our Japanese counterparts as they come to Australia to learn more about agriculture locally.

“Japanese and Australian agriculture share many commonalities, including the need to increase productivity growth and farmer profitability, deal with increasing costs, be prepared for a variable climate, and grow our market opportunities and exports.

“There are many opportunities for our two organisations to work together on issues of shared priority – attracting new entrants to our sectors, managing our sustainability and the natural environment, improving our competitiveness and the increased adoption of new technology.

“Ensuring a strong relationship, and a positive outcome for both Australian and Japanese farmers is a top priority for both our organisations,” Mr Fraser said.

The 14-strong delegation visiting Australia this week includes JA Jenchu Vice President, Toshiaki Tobita, and the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of the JA Jenchu committees, including the paddy farming committee, the horticultural products committee and JA Youth, the JA Zenchu young farmers committee.

The JA Zenchu visit, taking place on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 November, will include a farm visit to an ACT sheep and cattle property and meetings with the NFF and its members, plus the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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