平成農地改革 農業再生の第一歩となれば

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Jun. 28, 2009)
Farmland reform aims to revitalize agriculture
平成農地改革 農業再生の第一歩となれば(6月28日付・読売社説)

The idea of arresting the decline of agriculture by shifting the focus of the farmland system from ownership to effective use informs the revised Agricultural Land Law, which recently passed the Diet.
 農地制度の軸足を「所有」から「利用」に移して農業の衰退に歯止めをかける。こんな狙いを込めた改正農地法が、国会で成立した。

This is a major revision in that the owner-cultivator system maintained since the postwar farmland reform, which gave ownership of farmland to those who cultivate it, was overhauled. The revised law allows letting and leasing of farmland in principle and has eased regulations on the entry of corporate entities into agribusinesses.
 農地解放以来の「農地は耕作者のもの」とする「自作農主義」を見直す大改正だ。農地の貸借を原則自由とし、企業の農業への参入規制も緩和する。

The biggest problems that the nation's agriculture industry faces are a dearth of farmers and low productivity. It is an urgent task to promote the entry of corporations into the agribusiness sector as a major player in the industry and improve efficiency. The enactment of the revised law should serve as the first step toward revitalizing the nation's agricultural sector, and the so-called Heisei-era farmland reform should be carried out as soon as possible.
 日本の農業の最大の課題は、担い手不足と低い生産性にある。企業の農業参入を促して新たな担い手とし、効率化を進めることが急務だ。改正農地法の成立を農業再生の第一歩とし、「平成の農地改革」の実現を急ぐべきだ。

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Fears over rise in land misuse

Farmland that companies may lease had been limited mainly to abandoned land. But under the new system, companies may also lease prime land. Tenure, which had been limited to 20 years, has been extended to 50 years.
 企業が借りられる農地はこれまで耕作放棄地などに限られていたが、今後は優良農地も借りられるようになる。最長20年だった貸借期間も50年に延長された。

At the same time, consolidation of farmland for lease is expected to be promoted. Regardless of who is the lessee, the government will provide subsidies to farmers who let their land. Municipal governments and agricultural cooperatives will systematically provide information on farmland available for lease to prospective lessees.
 同時に、貸し出す農地の集約事業も進める。借り手を問わずに農地を貸し出す農家に国が交付金を出し、市町村や農協が農地をまとめて借り手に紹介する。

It will be easier to improve efficiency with the use of agricultural machinery if farmland is consolidated. It also is expected that abandoned farmland, which totals about 400,000 hectares nationwide, will be reduced by letting it in combination with prime farmland.
 まとまった農地なら、機械化による効率経営を進めやすい。他の農地と「まとめ貸し」をすることで、全国に約40万ヘクタールある耕作放棄地を減らす効果も期待できる。

But there still is much work to do to ensure that farmland is used more efficiently.
 ただ、農地の有効利用には、なお残された課題も多い。

There are concerns that the law revision may lead to an increase in the number of cases in which borrowed land is illegally diverted for such purposes as parking lots and garbage dumps.
 心配なのは、借りた農地を駐車場やごみ捨て場などに不正転用するケースが増えることだ。

In 2008 alone, farmland with an area equivalent to 121 Tokyo Domes was illegally diverted for other purposes. In 90 percent of such cases, local governments reportedly rubber-stamped the misuse of the land in question, thus benefiting those acting illegally.
 2008年だけで、東京ドーム121個分の農地が不正に転用されている。その9割は自治体が不正転用を追認しており、「やり得」というのが実態だ。

Under the revised law, the upper limit of fines imposed on companies that illicitly use farmland for purposes other than farming has been raised from the previous 3 million yen to 100 million yen. But this toughened penalty will have only a limited effect.
 改正法では不正転用した企業に科す罰金の上限を300万円から1億円に引き上げたが、罰則の強化だけでは限界がある。

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Watchdogs must stay alert

Municipal governments' agricultural committees are in charge of checking whether farmland is being used illegally. But it is indispensable to drastically review the function of these committees. It is said that registries containing such information as the size of farmland and its ownership are not updated in some cases. Concerned officials should first grasp the actual situation in the areas they administer and crack down on the illegal use of farmland.
 転用の監視役は市町村の農業委員会だが、その抜本的見直しが不可欠だ。農地面積や権利関係を記した基本台帳すら、過去の記録のまま放置されている例があるという。まず地域の実態を把握し、厳しく転用を取り締まるべきだ。

The increase in the maximum tenure period raises the risk that leased farmland will not be returned within the due period, or that it will be misused. If farmers, feeling concerned about such potential problems, become reluctant to let their land, the entry of companies into the agribusiness industry will not be facilitated. Companies will not be able to win trust from landowners if they withdraw from agribusinesses just because they failed to make a quick profit.
 貸借期間が長期化すれば、期限が来ても返されなかったり、改廃されたりする恐れが高まる。農家がこれを嫌って貸し出しを渋れば企業の参入は進まない。企業が目先の収益だけで撤退するようでも貸し手の信頼は得られない。

To ensure that the revised law does not end up pie in the sky, it is important for farmland letters and lessees to have mutual understanding. Pursuing efficiency and cost-effectiveness alone is unlikely to lead to the stable management of the agribusiness sector. Companies, as a vital player in the industry, must bear this in mind as they seek synergy with regional agriculture.
 改正法を絵に描いたモチに終わらせないためには、貸し手と借り手の相互理解が重要だ。効率化やコスト意識だけでは、安定した農業経営はできない。担い手の一人として、企業は地域農業との共生を忘れてはならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 28, 2009)
(2009年6月28日01時36分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2009-06-28 09:10 | 英字新聞

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