2. The reason for my interest in overseas is fair trade
3. Start business in Indonesia
4. Business history
5. What I want to achieve in this project
6. Why a Successor Development Project?
7. Interest in vegetables
8. From weight to quality
9. Challenge to make more than 200 kinds of vegetables
10. Selection and concentrations
11. Separation of sales business and production / successor development
12. Implementation schedule
13. Agreed to partner with an Indonesian NGO
14.Use of funds
15. In conclusion
My name is Nishimura Akira, and I will briefly introduce my background.
I was born in Tokyo in 1954. By my father's transfer, I lived in Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture from 1957 to 1958, and from 1960 to 1963 in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture.
A paddy field spread in front of the company house where I lived in the Nichinan era, and I saw the paper mill where my father was working..
the Toyonaka period I would visit Kobe City, where my mother's home was
located. Close to my mother’s home, there was land rented by my uncles,
where vegetables and rice were grown. My mother's home was originally a
tool shop and not a farm, but it was eventually decided to start
cultivating vegetables and rice because of post-war food shortages.
Every night, my uncles discussed how to grow the crop and continue
cultivation. As a result, we were able to harvest more than we
consumed, and selling the crops helped fund our uncle’s and mother's
school and living expenses.
When I went to my mother ’s home on holiday, my uncle was mowing the field. Although they were not farmers, my mother's family had a threshing machine.
There has always been such a landscape of fields in my heart. Perhaps the memory of this time is linked to my desire to bet on pesticide-free vegetables..
Returning to Tokyo, I entered junior high school and started to play rugby football, which my father had also played. I eventually participated in the national competition of high school. My teammates from that time still support my business in many ways.
Other than rugby, I loved music— Rock, Folk, R&B, Latin—which I expressed through going to concerts and collecting records in my junior high school days. I also listened to the ethnic music of the Asian, African, and Latin American, and participated in an amateur group who sang and danced to the world's folk performing arts. At that time, I learned Kecak dance from Bali, Indonesia, and I was astonished at the depth of its layered structure of performing arts. I then became interested in the Indonesian culture, performing arts, and society that created it.
At university I joined a cycle touring club. In summer, I set up my tent and cooked myself a rice bowl, and in spring I stayed at a hostel and went over the mountainous area of the whole country. Through this experience, although I grew up in the city, I have become very interested in the natural environment and regional development.
Time flew in 1987— I quit the mass retailer I worked at (which handled home appliances, jewelry, household goods, etc.) and got the opportunity to join a fair trade company in Tokyo.
Fairtrade’s purpose is to trade at a fair price and create jobs in developing countries. It features mainly imported and sold handicrafts, coffee, tea, spices without pesticides, and so on.
I have been in charge of Asian countries since 1988, and visited rural areas such as Indonesia, Philippines, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, etc. I have had many discussions with producers and provided financial cooperation for the purchasing equipment necessary for product development and production.
studied the activities of European and American fair trade pioneers
such as Oxfam, edited and published a booklet on producers in each
country, and concentrated on my work.
If I had an event, I participated in the bazaar and went to caravans everywhere in Japan with cars full of handicrafts.
In order to know the situation of the production area, I organized a study tour to visit the producers, and visited the rural areas of the above countries repeatedly. We talked with the producers and shared much wisdom.
As I continued such work, I felt that I wanted to work more deeply with the local community and I left the fair trade company. I then began searching for a way to create a business in Indonesia, a country where I am most interested in society and culture.
Under such circumstances, a Fukui farmer who I met when I was in charge of Hokuriku district at a fair trade company, said that he was going to Indonesia to meet people who have received agricultural training in Japan. He asked if I would like him to introduce me, so I went and met with some young people in Jakarta.
We decided to work together with Mr. Winarno Tohir, who I met at that time, and in 1994 I applied for investment. I was approved, and started my company in 1995. The company name was Bina Desa (meaning rural development/regional development), as proposed by Mr. Winarno.
In 1995 I opened an office in a rural village in Indramayu in West Java and spent six years there.
I traveled around the country to export handicrafts and batiks and wondered how I could improve rural life.
We launched a mail-order site for Indonesian products in 1998, and began selling music CDs, movie videos, dictionaries, batiks, etc. to people in Japan.
A Web shopping site for Indonesian products "Sundaland" operated from 1998 to 2014
In 2003, we jointly established a restaurant called Ramen 38 in Jakarta. These ramen shopｓ are still popular in Indonesia.
In 2013 we started cultivation tests for pesticide-free vegetables. In 2015 we opened a directly managed store in Jakarta, and started selling our vegetables wholesale to restaurants, five-star hotels, and Japanese food supermarkets.
The directly-owned store, which opened in 2015, is called Yao Pagi. The shop name is a combination of a traditional Japanese fruit and vegetable shop name " Yao, " and “Pagi” meaning “morning” in Indonesian.
In 2017 we began online delivery. As mentioned above, I had operated a web shopping site since the ’90s. Based on that experience, we launched the vegetable delivery service. Jakarta is famous for traffic congestion, and public transportation is not well developed, which makes it difficult to go shopping. Therefore, the service of delivering vegetables to people’s homes by motorbike was very well received.
From the beginning, we have consistently produced vegetables without pesticides through the natural cultivation method.
Currently, there are five direct employees (1 females and 4 males) in the office responsible for sales, delivery, and purchasing.
Cultivation and shipping are done by 5 people (5 men) who live near the farmland.
In 2018, we purchased a greenhouse for pesticide-free hydroponic culture, which is continuing production, and carried out capital investment to expand production. It is still operating smoothly.
Pada tahun 2018, kami membeli green house untuk budaya
hidroponik bebas pestisida, yang melanjutkan produksi, dan melakukan
investasi modal untuk memperluas produksi. Masih beroperasi dengan
I have continued my businesses and I am 65 years old this year. My wife died 10 years ago, and we had no children. I need a successor to succeed in this business.
The successors consider the following people:
1. Persons newly recruited at our company
2. Those who are (or have been in the past) performing safe farming practices such as low pesticide or pesticide-free natural cultivation and are interested in pesticide-free farming here
3. If you are new to it, but would like to do pesticide-free farming
Indonesia is a fast-growing growing country, with the world's fourth largest population and young generation (average age of 28) but there is a huge economic disparity between urban and rural areas. In rural agriculture, there are few opportunities for obtaining sufficient income. While the concentration of population in the metropolitan area is progressing, the agricultural population continues to decline.
The table shows the total population of 2009 compared to 2018, the agricultural population and their proportions. During the last eight years, the agricultural population has decreased by 9.55 million, and the share of the total population has also fallen by 3% (shown in the table below).
Making vegetables without pesticides requires a job that is appropriate to the area, and it cannot be learned in manuals. In order to understand, you will need to gain experience while facing the soil on site after several harvests. In addition, in order to inherit not only vegetables but also the entire business, it has to take at least five years of experience. And, in order to develop human resources, we considered it necessary to create a system independent of the conventional production and sales business.
I founded a company and lived in a rural area in West Java, where Mr. Winarno's hometown is.
The population of this village was 5,000 and 90% were farmers. Every morning people with agricultural tools would go out to the field, where ducks and goats would graze in front of the house during the day. There is no work in the rural areas, and people in rural areas often go to work in large cities such as Jakarta.
2001 the head office was relocated to the capital city of Jakarta, the
above-mentioned web site was managed, and food products were exported.
I returned to Japan temporarily from 2007 to 2010 and resumed work in Indonesia in 2011.
We decided to be involved in agriculture in earnest from 2012 and started the farming business.
There are no vegetables in the Indonesian wholesale market labeled as organically grown or pesticide-free. Vegetables are valued only by weight, always beaten prices, and quality is always secondar.
This is a major reason that the country's agricultural population continues to decline.
Agriculture in this country is not in a situation where the younger generation can work with enthusiasm. Conventional farming practices are the mainstream and are often marginalized by many middlemen, with farmers' income remaining low. No matter how hard you try, you cannot get enough income through farming.
At the same time, economic growth has led me to travel abroad, and the number of health-conscious people has increased significantly in the world. By knowing foreign life, urban areas are increasingly interested in safe, high-quality, and delicious vegetables.
sustainable farms that produce good vegetables and deliver them
directly to consumers. It is a very important task for the country's
stability in that it makes a job in the region and bridges the region
to the city.
Vegetable production in Indonesia, which has a different climate from Japan, began with trial and error. We received many opinions that it was impossible if we didn't use fertilizer, and that it was faster to sell vegetables that we harvested elsewhere. However, vegetables that are forced-cultivated by applying fertilizers have low nutritional value and freshness drops quickly. Our vegetables are highly regarded not only in terms of taste but also in terms of freshness, nutritive value, and safety.
With the input of professors from the National Bogor Agricultural University, we have been able to produce competitive vegetables that are not affected by market prices through the accumulation of natural cultivation over the past seven years. As a result, we are proud that the producers can now make vegetables with pride and appropriate profits.
There are few organizations that systematically perform pesticide-free farming. When I started the vegetable production and sales business, there was no reasonably priced refrigerated transport service and no warehouse for washing and storing vegetables. Therefore, we built all the infrastructure in-house.
For that reason, I thought that I needed to establish a system for training people.
mentioned above, in 2012 I opened farmland in the highland (1600 meters
in elevation) of central Java and the hill area of West Java, made
greenhouses, and started trial cultivation of vegetables of various
varieties. About 200 species have been tested so far. Among them, 40
kinds of cultivation and seeding were successful.
The following are the vegetables that I was able to grow here (all taken in-house farmland).
.Momotaro, Mini Tomato, Japanese radish, Cucumber, Sweet corn, Carrot, Turnip, Buckwheat noodle, Salad greens, Japanese leek, Komatsuna, Kale, Pleated lettuce, Frill lettuce, Lettuce, Mizuna, Red oak, Romaine lettuce, Sunny lettuce, Pokcoy, Basil, Rucola, Mustard greens, Celery, Mitsuba, Green beans, Snap peas, Moroheya, Okra, Green Pepper, Shishito, Shungiku, Radish, Italian Parsley, Dill, Coriander, Endive, Water spinach, Burdock, Pumpkin, Shishito
The cultivation record can be viewed from this Instagram.
Yao Pagi Instagram
In order to focus on developing successors, we have begun restructuring our business in the last year. All stores were closed and narrowed down into 3 businesses: production of pesticide-free vegetables, online home delivery, and wholesale to restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, etc.
So far, the businesses have been managed mostly with their own funds, but we have been recruiting investors since 2016, and currently my share is 75%, investors are 20% in total, and the founding partner Mr. Winarno is 5%.
It all started with a seedling production house at 300 square meters, but we have gained a lot of experience by promoting many varieties of cultivation in the farmland of different conditions throughout 3 hectares of Central Java and West Java.
I would like to summarize the points of the business that I have cultivated so far and share it with those in charge of agriculture in this country.
business and separation of production and successor training
In addition, we plan to organize the existing vegetable sales business and the training of successors separately. The salespeople are those who have been the mainstay of store sales and wholesale.
I will take leadership in production and successor training, and I will promote the company and business separately.
The financial report of the project will be reported on this page or by e-mail.
Candidates for successors will be selected this year by the end of October.
Guidance of successor candidates on cultivation and farmland management. Based on the results, we will start a new business including the production of processed products and develop a five-year plan for inheritance of the business.
First-year: Cultivation to the successor candidate, guidance of farmland management
Publication of an Indonesian-language booklet summarizing the points of cultivation
Second-year: Business operation and financial training
Third-year: Sales and marketing
Fourth-year: Product development, breed research
Fifth-year: New business development, business succession
13. Agreed to partner with an Indonesian NGO
On September 30, 2019, we agreed with Indonesian educational NGO "The Learning Farm" to participate and cooperate in the farm succession training project.
The Learning Farm (TLF) is an NGO that provides education and technology acquisition opportunities for young people who have been forced to live in poor environments such as street life due to poverty, family problems, religion, crime, illness, etc. is.
TLF is located on a plateau of 1,100m in Cianjur, West Java.
About 60 people live in the dormitory. First, a 100-day basic course is implemented for organic agriculture, English, computers, life skills, and other educational programs. In addition, there are specialized courses for learning agriculture in earnest.
In 2.5 hectares of farmland (fields), farming training is also conducted and all vegetables are grown organically.
1. Translation and publication book of cultivation procedures (30 pages)
2. Maintenance, administration expense of farmland, training facility
3. Farmland manager personnel expenses
4. Research and development expenses
Vegetables are the basis of all living things. If there is good land where vegetables can grow well, the sea will be rich.
"Culture" was the starting point where I was involved in Asia. And now I am involved in "Agriculture". The two words are derived from the same Latin (Colere = plow).
People who are involved in agriculture create a system that is properly evaluated in quality, not kilograms (Kg). And I will do my best in this development project so that the people of Indonesia can live a healthy, stable ,and high-quality life through the development of my successor.
This project is my finishing touch on Asian rural development which I have been involved from the '80s.
If I could contribute to the sustainable regional development of this country by handing over agricultural production technology to you and my employees, there would be no pleasure over this
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