Agricultural Development In Japan

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The United States of America and other European countries served as a model for Japanese agricultural development. The Japanese government setup farm machinery manufacturing plants for the agricultural sector. Agricultural Colleges were established for training and education in agriculture. The curriculum at these agricultural institutions was borrowed from the west and was based on the modern scientific method of large scale farming. 50 However these hasty steps failed to address the problems of Japanese agriculture. Consequently from 1881 onwards the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce started to seek and develop technologies which would be best suited to the Japanese economic environment.
The focus now was on developing indigenous technologies
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There was a growth in the output of both agricultural goods and Z goods which led to a surge in rural household incomes. The rise in agricultural output and incomes led to an increase in demand for manufactured goods which was met by an “expanding rural industrial sector utilising labour intensive technology”. Consequently the rural non- agricultural activity grows and leads to better incomes for rural households which in turn increases the demand for agrarian products.
In the Meiji period the increase in agricultural income led to the enhancement of health, nutritional and educational levels. “Higher expenditures on food and clothing; and increased use of modern facilities such as medical and dental clinics, trains, bicycles, telegraph and postal systems, electricity, and even entertainment forms such as motion pictures” point to an improving living standard for the overall rural population. The average educational level of the male farm worker increased from 1.25 years in 1885 to around 1.97 years in 1900. For female farm workers the average educational level increased from 0.46 years in 1885 to 0.85 years in
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The creation of this agrarian base was not a phenomenon limited to the Meiji era. It was the result of prolonged innovation and development in agriculture which had continued from the time of the Tokugawas and had matured and manifested itself during the Meiji era. Most of the scholars have accepted the developmental continuities in agriculture that began from the Tokugawa era and revealed itself in the Meiji period. To call this agricultural development a revolution would be a misnomer because although agriculture developed, it developed within the traditional framework of Japanese rural
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