Go green: Japan throws weight behind private agritech improvement projects to hit sustainability targets

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

The Japanese government has approved the applications of over 50 companies looking to implement agritech-focused improvements to their businesses. ©Getty Images
The Japanese government has approved the applications of over 50 companies looking to implement agritech-focused improvements to their businesses. ©Getty Images

Related tags japan agri-tech sustainability

The Japanese government has approved the applications of over 50 companies looking to implement agritech-focused improvements to their businesses, offering support and tax incentives in a bid to hit its national Green Food System sustainability goals by 2030.

Under the purview of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Green Food System was launched in 2021 and saw the establishment of the Green Food System Act​ in 2022 to accelerate developments under this system.

After initially struggling to receive any enthusiastic support​ from the local food industry, things seem to have picked up in the food producer and agricultural sector since late last year, with some 55 applications to implement relevant improvement projects having been approved as of September 2023.

“Under the Green Food System Act, the government certifies business plans concerning machinery or materials that will provide the technologies to enable businesses in the agriculture, forestry or fishery fields to reduce their environmental impact,”​ MAFF stated via a formal statement.

“In addition to taxation and financial support measures that business entities can receive when making relevant capital expenditure investments, [agricultural] producers that have been certified by their relevant local governments based on this law are also able to get special tax treatments when making capital investments.

“The expectation for all businesses approved under this act is for these to contribute to areas such as the reduction of chemical fertiliser use, or chemical pesticides use, or the expansion of organic farming and so on.”

Some of the recent agritech applications that have been approved by MAFF include FTH Co’s steam heat treatment equipment that disinfects seeds and seedlings with the use of saturated steam, reducing the use of chemical pesticides; and Joy World Pacific’s automatic irrigation and fertilisation control technology to automate and optimise this work in greenhouse horticulture to reduce chemical fertiliser usage.

The financial and tax exemption support offered by the government is provided via the Green Investment Promotion Taxation System, and applicants must first obtain advance certification for the equipment or technology by the relevant authorities in advance, prior to installation.

A list of existing equipment eligible for this tax exemption can be found here​, accurate as of September 8 2023. [Document is in Japanese]

Green Food System

The Green Food System strategy has laid out several ambitious key objectives for the country to be hit by 2050, with major targets already laid out for 2030.

Amongst the major objectives for 2050 include zero CO2​ emissions in agriculture, 50% reduction in chemical pesticides use and 30% reduction in chemical fertiliser use.

In the mid-term, by 2030 MAFF has decreed there to be a 10.6% reduction in CO2​ emissions across agriculture, forestry and fisheries, a 10% reduction in chemical pesticides and a 20% reduction in chemical fertiliser.

“This strategy will pave the way for Japan’s future whilst enhancing the engagement of stakeholders all along the food supply chain, [with a] focus on promoting innovation including agri-technologies to reduce the system’s environmental load,”​ MAFF stated.

“The final goal is to accomplish the triple win of economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability.”

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