Okinawa cultivated land area smallest since 1972

Okinawa General Bureau announced that the cultivated acreage of farmland on Okinawa, as of July 15th, 2014, decreased by 0.3% to a total of 38,700 hectares compared to a year ago. The figure is the smallest since Okinawa’s reversion in 1972.

As a reason, bureau officials cited the aging of farmers and lack of successors that has led to an increase in desolated farmland, and diversion of farmland into residential use.  At its peak the prefecture had 47,100 hectares of farmland in 1992, and it has been decreasing every year since.

According to the bureau’s figures, the acreage of regular fields decreased by 0.5% to 37,800 hectares while the area of paddy land increased slightly by 0.1% to 852 hectares.  Raising cattle is popular on Okinawa, and therefore the proportion of grassland on Okinawa is higher than the national average of 15 % of all farmland. The proportion is the third highest among the prefectures following Hokkaido and Iwate Prefecture.