Message from ZEN-NOH Representatives
Unite, Our Challenge, Our Future
For ZEN-NOH to Continue Boldly Taking on Challenges Even in Five and Ten Years From Now
We wish to offer our sincerest thanks for the tremendous cooperation and support that the ZEN-NOH Group enjoys in its businesses.
The source of action for the JA Group, which stands for the spirit of mutual aid, is “One for All, All for One,” the words of Germany’s Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818 – 1888), who can be described as the father of cooperatives.
Each of Japan’s regions have unique agricultural and livestock products as well as colors of the four seasons, forming a traditional culture which features local cuisines and festivals that are rooted in the climate. We believe it is the role of the JA Group to pass on this starting point for Japan and the Japanese identity to the future. To fulfill this role, we believe that the cooperative spirit of mutual aid should be reevaluated.
The fiscal year 2020 is the second year of ZEN-NOH’s three-year Medium-Term Plan. Based on the catchphrase “Unite, Our Challenge, Our Future,” we are continuing to accelerate autonomous reform initiatives as well as boldly taking on the challenges of new business domains.
This three-year Medium-Term Plan has set out five top-priority measures.
The first top-priority measure is the establishment of production infrastructure. To address the trend of decrease and aging of producers, ZEN-NOH is working to train agricultural workers, introduce agricultural ICT systems, develop necessary infrastructure, and reduce the cost of production materials.
The second top-priority measure is to secure our position as a leading brand for food products. ZEN-NOH is working on market-focused product development in collaboration with manufacturers and customers by strengthening merchandising functions, promotion of contract farming, direct sales to consumers, and enhancement of sales capabilities utilizing diverse channels such as JA Town.
The third top-priority measure is to build strategies for developing overseas markets. In order to expand exports of domestic agricultural and livestock products, ZEN-NOH is developing dedicated export production areas and opening sales sites in priority countries and regions. ZEN-NOH is also working to strengthen procurement capabilities for production materials and raw materials such as fertilizers and feed grains, for which Japan depends on overseas suppliers.
The fourth top-priority measure is the support for building healthy local communities. Agriculture can only develop if the infrastructure of local communities is maintained and so ZEN-NOH is working to expand stores such as A-Coop and JA-SS and to maintain and strengthen energy infrastructure.
The fifth top-priority measure is the strengthening of support for local JAs. ZEN-NOH has launched efforts to work with JAs to consider visions for JA economic business activities that are aligned with local conditions and assist with the development of systems that meet the diverse needs of producers.
In the fiscal year 2019, ZEN-NOH steadily implemented these measures in cooperation with producers, government, and business partners. In the fiscal year 2020, the second year of the plan, we have been deepening these measures further and continuing to work on them for ZEN-NOH to keep taking on challenges even five and ten years from now.
The unprecedented phenomenon of the COVID-19 has had a major global impact. Faced with this ongoing situation, a variety of changes have taken place in food and agricultural settings. Even under these conditions, ZEN-NOH has been fulfilling the responsibility to deliver safe and reliable food to the public using the groupwide supply chains built to date. In addition, labor shortages in production have become even more serious due to such factors as restrictions on foreign human resources entering Japan. To address this, ZEN-NOH is working to bring in human resources from other industries and to implement human resource matching with local residents as well as accelerating the spread of smart agriculture.
Meanwhile, forms of consumption are also changing constantly. The demand for the online home delivery service via e-commerce is forecast to rise dramatically and become stabilized afterwards.
Furthermore, Japan’s population is now declining and people’s lifestyles and workstyles, and consumption, distribution, sites of agricultural production, and rural areas are also changing at a speed that has never been experienced before. The JA Group must address these issues in a broad collaboration with various companies and groups rather than by ourselves alone and will actively promote alliances going forward.
Agriculture in Japan has incredible foundations due to the efforts of our predecessors. We will protect the things we need to keep while making change where needed anticipating the changes in the times in order to pass Japanese agriculture on to the next generation.
We will appreciate your cooperation and understanding with regard to the operations of the ZEN-NOH Group in the future.