Japanese farmers turning to technology to overcome pandemic, aging

Kyodo -- Jun 03
Japanese farmers are turning to digital technologies to grow and sell their products as the coronavirus pandemic depresses sales to restaurants and the graying of Japan's population complicates the drive to raise productivity in the labor-intensive sector.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, an increasing number of farmers and fishermen have drawn attention to their plight through Pocket Marche, an online service that brings together farmers, fishermen and consumers.

"A substantial number of farmers lost their sales to restaurants due to the pandemic and flocked to our app to sell their products," said Pocket Marche Inc. CEO Hiroyuki Takahashi.

In February last year when Japan was reporting a slow growth rate of coronavirus infections, around 2,000 farmers and fishermen were selling their products to 52,000 registered customers via Pocket Marche's app.

As the coronavirus situation worsened, the number of producers using the service grew to around 5,100, with customers rising to 300,000.

The app, launched in 2016, allows farmers and buyers to exchange messages. - Kyodo