Rising Costs, Production Cuts Hurt Japanese Dairy Farmers

Economy

Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press)--Japanese dairy farmers are in an increasingly tough situation, hit hard by rising production costs blamed partly on higher prices of formula feed for milk cows following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Also battered by production cuts for raw milk after past oversupply, a growing number of dairy farmers are quitting their businesses.

An industry organization in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, one of the biggest production areas for dairy goods in Japan, has decided to cut production for 2023, stoking concerns over impacts on local dairy farmers.

According to data from the Japanese agriculture ministry, the number of dairy producers across the nation as of Feb. 1, 2022, was down 4.3 pct year on year at 13,300, including 5,560 in Hokkaido, which accounts for more than 50 pct of Japan's raw milk production by volume, down 2.8 pct. The nationwide number has been falling around 4 pct annually over the past 20 years or so.

"This year (in Hokkaido), close to 200 dairy producers have already withdrawn from or decided to pull the plug on their businesses," a local industry official said, pointing out that many of them have been struggling not only to deal with higher feed costs and production cuts, but also repay loans they took on in the past to expand their butter-making facilities to help resolve supply shortages that had been crippling the country.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press