- The Association of Japanese Geographers
- 地理学評論 (ISSN:13479555)
- vol.80, no.12, pp.732-757, 2007-10-01 (Released:2010-03-12)
This study examines the rejuvenation of greenhouse horticulture on the Kujukuri Plain in Chiba Prefecture, about 60km from Tokyo. Greenhouse horticulture has gone through many changes since the 1990s, and the management of greenhouse operation, in particular, has changed with the introduction of advanced hydroponics and large agricultural subsidies. The study is based on interviews conducted with farmers, employees of agricultural co-operatives and local government officials in 2005 and 2006, and a land-use survey conducted in 2004. We emphasize actors and their linkages in maintaining horticulture, and examine the formation of the following linkages among actors: the linkages among individual farmers voluntarily involved in farm groups, the linkages among groups of farmers, and those between farmers and agricultural co-operatives, farm equipment manufacturers and local governments. The formation of five hydroponic organizations in Shirako Town is studied by examining several factors that help to maintain and develop greenhouse horticulture. These factors are favourable climate, rich soil, the proximity to large markets, accumulated horticultural technology, advanced infrastructure, the increase in profits and the rationalization of farming owing to the innovations adopted by individual farms, and the improvement in farm working conditions. Among various actors, the leaders of each hydroponic organization and the Shirako Hydroponic Association have played an important role and have been a driving force to develop hydroponic horticulture in Shirako Town. Hydroponic farmers have maintained individual farm management while they have created farm associations that take advantage of working in groups. Moreover, these five hydroponic organizations have improved co-operation with agricultural co-operatives, local government, seedling companies and hydroponic equipment manufacturers.