How Hokkaido Become the largest Rice producer in Japan: implications for Agro based Development strategies in Africa

Course ID
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Susumu Watanabe

The organizer has invited me to discuss Japanese experience relevant to African nations in their industrialisation efforts. When we talk about the “industrialization of Japan”, we usually refer to the development of imported modern manufacturing industries, such as mechanized cotton spinning and weaving, shipbuilding and iron and steel industries. However, the relevance of Japanese experience to African countries is extremely limited in this domain, because initial conditions are too different. I have therefore opted for discussing how the Japanese managed to turn its northern provinces, the northern island of Hokkaido in particular, into main rice supplying areas by overcoming the cold climate. The strategy adopted was much the same as those for the promotion and modernization of small consumer goods industries, including traditional rural industries.
My choice of this alternative subject has been motivated partly by the current debate on development strategies among Ethiopian policy-makers and researchers. The desirability of a rapid development of the urban sector is obvious, as surplus rural population is bound to flow out of villages to expand the urban informal sector. Given the extremely limited industrial base and the severe policy-constraints imposed by the Washington-based international financial institutions and the WTO, however, the prospect of such a strategy is far from promising: how could one sensibly expect a rapid expansion of industrial exports, while domestic markets for the simplest industrial products are flooded by imports, let alone those for more sophisticated products? On the other hand, given the extremely primitive conditions of Ethiopian agriculture and rural industries and services, there seems to be an ample room for their improvement and expansion, provided that unyielding efforts could be made for that purpose. As the situation is similar in many other African countries, much the same can be said about other Sub-Saharan countries as well

Corporate Author: Alemayehu Seyoum … [et al.] (editor)
Publisher: Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors: Education – vocational training; Rice production

Secondary Descriptor: Agricultural production – Paddy

Geographic Descriptors: Japan, Hokkaido
Cataloge Date: 02/27/2013
Broad Subject heading: Agricultural development
Call Number: 330.963 PRO 2005
Serial Key Title: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: International Conference
Content type: EEA Publication
Volume: II
Publication date: 2013-05-27 23:05:00
Forum or Discussion date: 2013-02-27 14:55:45
Place of publication: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: Book
Current frequency: Annualy
Author: Susumu Watanabe

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