Japan - Stone Fruit Annual
In the 2012/13 season, Japanese cherry production is expected to revert to normal levels following last year’s bumper crop. Japanese imports of U.S. cherries may slow slightly due to lower supplies from California. California is temporarily suspended from shipping cherries under the systems approach protocol. Japanese peach production is likely to slow. Lingering fears about radioactive contamination continue to dampen export prospects for Fukushima peach farmers.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan’s planted area for sweet cherries in the 2011/12 season was 4,850 hectares, a decline of 30 hectares from the previous season. The area harvested also declined 30 hectares from the previous season to 4,440 hectares. Since the 2007 season, the Japanese crop area for sweet cherries has been marginally declining. This decline is primarily due to the overall labor shortage in the Japanese agriculture sector resulting from an aging population. According to the 2010 Japanese census of agriculture, the average age of Japanese farmers is 65.8 years old.