Tokyo, September 11, 2017- Rakuten, Inc. announced the conclusion of an agricultural partnership agreement today with Jinsekikogen Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, with the aim of revitalizing the local economy and community.
Jinsekikogen Town is located in a mountainous area in the east of Hiroshima Prefecture. Although the town has been working to promote agriculture under the concept of “community-building based on food and agriculture,” it has continued to suffer from a shrinking and aging population, making the maintenance of farmland and the development of the next generation of farmers major community issues. In order to establish agriculture as one of the region’s primary industries, Jinsekikogen Town aims to increase the business skills of each of its farmers. Based on today’s agreement, Rakuten and Jinsekikogen Town will work on various measures to support new farmers and farm succession through Rakuten’s agricultural service, Rakuten Ragri. This is the first time for Ragri to sign a partnership agreement with a local government.
The partnership will focus on the following six areas:
- Supporting the process of nurturing new farmer, and the establishment of Incubation Farms*1
- Supporting farm succession, and the implementation of the Farmer Bridge Project
- Supporting the extension of the farming business into the secondary and tertiary (service) sectors
- Supporting the use of IT by farmers
- Providing education on nutrition in association with schools and children’s facilities
- Other areas related to community revitalization through agricultural promotion
Rakuten and its subsidiary Telefarm Inc. launched Ragri with the aim of helping to resolve the issues now facing Japanese agriculture. The service includes “Ragri Recruit,” a project to support new farmers, and “Ragri Bridge,” which aims to tackle the problem of succession by connecting farmers who are considering retirement, but do not have a successor, with new farmers.
Ragri’s produce is sold through the Ragri CSA (Community Supported Agricultural) service. Under the system, farmers receive orders to grow produce directly from consumers. Ahead of this agreement on September 4, Rakuten launched “Ragri Connect,” a new platform allowing each producer participating in the service to promote themselves through introduction pages and blogs. The platform also enables two-way communication between consumers and farmers. Furthermore, in collaboration with Rakuten Group services, Ragri CSA posts recipes from the recipe site, Rakuten Recipe, while a new Ragri shop has been established on Rakuten Ichiba to offer packages of different vegetables and regular purchasing services.
Rakuten and Jinsekikogen Town aim to contribute to the development of the local community and economy by utilizing the Ragri service to address the challenges of farmer shortages and farmland use.
*1 Incubation Farm: A Telefarm initiative for new farmers that provides support including access to shared land and equipment, and helps in dealing with government offices, processing and shipping.