Rakuten promotes measures to nurture new farmers and support farm succession in Jinsekikogen Town, Hiroshima Prefecture

Aiming to promote measures to nurture new farmers and support farm succession

TOKYO, JAPAN, 2017-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rakuten, Inc. announced the conclusion of an agricultural partnership agreement today with Jinsekikogen Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, with the aim of revitalizing the local economy and community.

Jinsekikogen Town is located in a mountainous area in the east of Hiroshima Prefecture. Although the town has been working to promote agriculture under the concept of “community-building based on food and agriculture,” it has continued to suffer from a shrinking and aging population, making the maintenance of farmland and the development of the next generation of farmers major community issues. In order to establish agriculture as one of the region’s primary industries, Jinsekikogen Town aims to increase the business skills of each of its farmers. Based on today’s agreement, Rakuten and Jinsekikogen Town will work on various measures to support new farmers and farm succession through Rakuten’s agricultural service, Rakuten Ragri. This is the first time for Ragri to sign a partnership agreement with a local government.

The partnership will focus on the following six areas:
1. Supporting the process of nurturing new farmer, and the establishment of Incubation Farms*1
2. Supporting farm succession, and the implementation of the Farmer Bridge Project
3. Supporting the extension of the farming business into the secondary and tertiary (service) sectors
4. Supporting the use of IT by farmers
5. Providing education on nutrition in association with schools and children’s facilities
6. Other areas related to community revitalization through agricultural promotion

Rakuten and its subsidiary Telefarm Inc. launched Ragri with the aim of helping to resolve the issues now facing Japanese agriculture. The service includes “Ragri Recruit,” a project to support new farmers, and “Ragri Bridge,” which aims to tackle the problem of succession by connecting farmers who are considering retirement, but do not have a successor, with new farmers.

Ragri’s produce is sold through the Ragri CSA (Community Supported Agricultural) service. Under the system, farmers receive orders to grow produce directly from consumers. Ahead of this agreement on September 4, Rakuten launched “Ragri Connect,” a new platform allowing each producer participating in the service to promote themselves through introduction pages and blogs. The platform also enables two-way communication between consumers and farmers. Furthermore, in collaboration with Rakuten Group services, Ragri CSA posts recipes from the recipe site, Rakuten Recipe, while a new Ragri shop has been established on Rakuten Ichiba to offer packages of different vegetables and regular purchasing services.

Rakuten and Jinsekikogen Town aim to contribute to the development of the local community and economy by utilizing the Ragri service to address the challenges of farmer shortages and farmland use.

*1Incubation Farm: A Telefarm initiative for new farmers that provides support including access to shared land and equipment, and helps in dealing with government offices, processing and shipping.

SOURCE:  Rakuten, Inc.

Sainsbury’s to boost support for hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers

Sainsbury’s to boost support for hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers


London, 2017-May-26 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sainsbury’s has today (23 May 2017) announced an ambitious new approach to the way it sources key crops and ingredients, from tea and prawns to coffee and bananas. It will empower its farmers to build more resilient businesses and improve the quality of life of their communities in the face of increasing environmental and economic challenges – thereby securing their long-term future and the supply of great quality products on the supermarket’s shelves.

  • Sainsbury’s will boost support for hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers – helping them to become more resilient in the face of escalating challenges from climate change to global competition, health and geo-political tensions
  • Plan includes the roll-out of new Sainsbury’s Sustainability Standards across key crops and ingredients, the pilot of a new sustainable sourcing approach for tea farmers and the set-up of an expert advisory board
  • The tea pilot will empower farmers by providing a minimum price and social premium, in addition to the guarantee of a long-term relationship, the provision of expert advice, training and bespoke information to help secure their future livelihoods
  • The plan will be underpinned by close collaboration with expert advisors, and its progress monitored through independent audits

Fact Sheet: Sainsbury’s Sustainability Standards

Fact Sheet: Fairly Traded Pilot

At its heart is cutting-edge data and insight, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, delivered in part through the launch of a new Sainsbury’s Sustainability Standards programme – a brand new management framework to support farmers of its 35 key crops and ingredients in meeting the highest sustainability standards. Farmers will, for the first time, be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses via robust data collection across the breadth of social, economic and environmental metrics and have visibility of best practice amongst peers. The insight will enable farmers to develop strategic action plans to improve their business performance and the well-being of their workers.

The Sainsbury’s Sustainability Standards, which build on and recognise existing certifications, have been co-authored with specialist advisors and peer-reviewed by 50 independent experts and will be independently audited. They have been piloted on prawns in Thailand and Belize and will now be piloted on other key crops such as tea, wheat, potatoes, sugar and bananas.

One of their imminent applications is with tea farmers in Africa as part of a pilot on key lines of bySainsbury’s tea, called Sainsbury’s Fairly Traded – a new way of working that will enable tea farmers in Africa to strengthen their businesses and communities as they tackle ever growing challenges, such as the impact of climate change and associated droughts, soil erosion and crop diseases.

The pilot provides tea farmers with a guaranteed minimum price for their crop along with a social premium, with the additional opportunity to build long-term relationships with Sainsbury’s and receive tailored strategic advice, data and practical support to help them respond to their specific challenges.

Practical support programmes, called Sainsbury’s Foundation programmes, will be funded through the Social Premium, and be directly linked to farmers strategic action plans, informed by insight from their Sainsbury’s Sustainability Standards and their own specific needs, as well as country-specific information linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Example programmes could include training in the latest agricultural techniques, to advice on reducing energy costs to improved health and education facilities for farming communities. Where required, support will be delivered on the ground by best-in-class experts, chosen for their capability in addressing specific issues.

The support programmes and the application of the Social Premium funds will be independently audited by a ‘Big 4’ auditor, and frequently evaluated by Sainsbury’s to ensure effectiveness. One of the first newly-labelled tea to arrive on shelves will be Red Label Tea in June 2017.

Sainsbury’s Group Chief Executive, Mike Coupe, said: “Sourcing with integrity has always been at the heart of Sainsbury’s business – offering customers high quality products with a provenance they can trust. As our farmers and their communities face mounting challenges, we want to advance the way we work with them over the long-term – so that we can secure their businesses, providing them and their communities with a better quality of life and in so doing secure the future supply of great products our customers love for many years to come.

“We have gained a lot of experience empowering our farmers to build resilient businesses and strengthen communities over the last decade – both internationally through our work with the Fair Development Fund and Comic Relief, and in the UK via our Farm Development Groups, such as dairy. We have learned what works and what is of real value to farmers. Starting with tea, we are taking this knowledge to make a further step-change to our sourcing approach by introducing new ways to utilise data and insight to help farmers improve their business performance and the well-being of their workers.

“The business case for the tea pilot is clear. Our farmers will receive a minimum price for their tea and the Social Premium, with added support, skills and resource tailored to their needs and delivered by experts as well as the security of a long-term relationship with us. All underpinned by the highest levels of data, independent audit and evaluation.

“Customers can drink our tea with the peace of mind that comes from knowing it has been sourced to the highest sustainability standards and know that they are helping farmers and communities prosper for many years to come.”

The Fairly Traded pilot and the associated Sainsbury’s Foundation support programmes, will be overseen by a new advisory body which will bring together independent specialists with senior Sainsbury’s colleagues. Independent advisory board members will include leading charities, academic institutions and NGO’s and be independently chaired.

Sainsbury’s will seek to attract further funding from external sources, including existing multi-stakeholder programmes, to extend reach and impact.

Mike Coupe, added: “We don’t pretend to have all the answers – far from it – and that’s why these pilots are about testing and developing new approaches, collaborating with expert partners and listening to our farmers. In this way we can find out what works, and what can be taken to scale and adopted elsewhere, be it internationally or here in the UK, to secure sustainable supply chains that benefit our farmers and their communities and our customers too.”

Austin Changazi, General Manager, Sukambizi Association Trust, Malawi (a Sainsbury’s tea producer), said, “Sainsbury’s has been our friend in need for the past eight years. Their development work with us, through the Fair Development Fund, has improved our product quality and yield and helped us achieve higher incomes. As a result, this has improved our lives – we can now build decent houses, send children to school and buy motorcycles. We wholeheartedly welcome the idea of working with Sainsbury’s on the Fairly Traded initiative.”


020 7695 7295

Source: Sainsbury


CRS and GEOSYS International Inc. to bring latest digital agriculture and satellite imagery technologies to farmers

Saskatoon, Canada, 2016-Feb-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — A new partnership between the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS) and GEOSYS International Inc. will bring the latest digital agriculture and satellite imagery technologies to farmers.

Co-op AG Team Agronomists at South Country Co-op will begin using GEOSYS’ Croptical™ monitoring application this spring. In the first year of the partnership, the application will be used to monitor the field health of a minimum of 120,000 acres in southern Alberta.

GEOSYS, founded 28 years ago and operating globally, is a pioneer in developing tools based on satellite imagery that improve agriculture business efficiency, including farming practices.

“At South Country Co-op, we’re proud to provide services that deliver more value to our farm members and customers,” said Mike Clement, General Manager of South Country Co-op. “Satellite imagery is a proven technology for improving agriculture. Our agronomists are knowledgeable, experienced and ready to help growers adopt this exciting technology.”

Keeping the finger on the pulse of every field

Croptical provides agronomists with a powerful tool as they build impactful farm strategies for growers.

The monitoring application uses daily satellite and weather-based data to produce detailed crop health readings with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) technology. Field NDVI growth during the season reveals where there are opportunities to push or protect yields and where agronomists and growers should focus their attention and smart-scout.

“First and foremost, we are dedicated to agriculture. It is at the core of everything we do,” said Damien Lepoutre, President of GEOSYS. “Our team is committed to delivering value to the grower and empowering agricultural development through digital technology.”

Throughout the 2016 growing season, South Country Co-op will work with Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) to evaluate Croptical for potential introduction to other Co-op Agro Centres in Western Canada.

“The Co-op AG Team and the CRS are committed to innovation,” said Trish Meyers, Knowledge and Innovation Manager at FCL. “By partnering with world-renowned leaders in digital agriculture, we will deliver new services and value to our growers. The Co-op AG Team will build on its reputation in Western Canada as a source of local knowledge and expertise and work with growers to realize the full potential of new agricultural technology and data collection tools.”

SOURCE: Federated Co-operatives Limited


coop ag

Tesco’s Future Farmer Foundation again open to receive applications

CHESHUNT, England, 2015-7-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Tesco’s Future Farmer Foundation is open once again to receive applications from enthusiastic young farmers who wish to make their mark on the industry.

The retailer launched the Future Farmer Foundation in 2014 to help bright, talented, determined young people make a confident start in the world of agriculture; whether they are looking to take over the family farm, embark on a new farming venture, or have an ambition to enter the industry for the first time.

This intake, the third for the foundation, will build on some of the fantastic successes that have already been achieved in the previous years.  Around 100 young people have already benefited from the programme, which aims to develop the business and personal skills of the participants and teach them about the importance of an effective supply chain for a modern sustainable farm business.

Lisa Buckley-Hoyle, Tesco’s Category Director for Sourcing and Agriculture said: ‘Our Future Farmer Foundation is about encouraging people to make their own start in the world of agriculture.  We have been delighted with huge drive and enthusiasm we have seen so far with the intake in previous years and we are confident that this year will be even better.

‘At Tesco, we recognise the many challenges young people face in this industry. As British Agriculture’s biggest customer, it is important to us that we help create opportunities for the next generation of farmers.’

Training is delivered by experts in their respective fields from across agriculture and  is supported by leading food and farming businesses including ABP, Adams Foods, Anglia Free Range Eggs, Arla, Bayer Crop Science, Branston, Cranswick Country Foods, Muller-Wiseman, Noble Foods, St Merryn Foods and Thanet Earth.

By providing participants with the opportunity to be exposed to all parts of the industry and supply chain, the Future Farmer Foundation has already helped to create a new generation of customer focused entrepreneurs in a fast moving and global industry. Future Farmers will also have the opportunity to apply for a Tesco International Scholarship, worth up to £5500. Recent recipients of the awards are Beth Bennett, a manager of a free range egg company and Joe Towers, a dairy farmer. They were singled out for drawing on current industry challenges to improve productivity and improve welfare standards.

Beth, whose proposal looked at how to reduce aggressive behaviour in flocks of laying hens to minimise production losses, commented on the scheme: ‘The programme helped me gain confidence and a clear understanding of the supply chain in various agricultural sectors, as well as imparting the essential business and financial skills required to run a farm. It was brilliant opportunity to meet with so many like-minded people from all over the country, who are passionate about being a part of an innovative and sustainable agricultural industry.

Whilst Joe, who will be researching how the use of Big Data can benefit better forecasting in the dairy supply chain, said: ‘One of the most valuable aspects of the programme has been developing both my personal and professional network and I am privileged to have got to know so many talented people passionate about British agriculture.  Gaining insight into how British agriculture’s biggest customer operates, as well as their suppliers, has given me an edge in adapting my business to a changing world. ‘



Notes to editors

  • The programme, funded by Tesco, is project managed by Promar International.
  • There is no requirement for the Future Farmers to work with the retailer in the future.

Who can apply?

  • All enthusiastic ambitious young farmers who are:
  • Aged 20-35 years old on 1st October
  • Not in full time education
  • From any farming sector
  • Living anywhere in the UK
  • New entrants, existing farmers or farm employees
  • Willing to commit approximately 2 days per month (on average) to participate in the programme

Why you should apply

  • Meet like-minded young farmers who share many of the same challenges as you do
  • Learn new skills and knowledge to apply within your business plans
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the supply chain
  • Build a network of contacts from across the industry
  • Gain the confidence to influence and make decisions, plan and execute your ideas
  • For more information on Tesco’s Future Farmer’s Foundation and how to apply, go to http://www.tescofuturefarmerfoundation.com
  • The closing date to submit application is the 15th August 2015


For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on 01992 644645
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