NCUI equivalent JA-Zenchu of Japan recently underwent major reforms which practically mean changing the character of the apex cooperative body of Japan. JA-Zenchu co-ordinates with the Indian apex body National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) on several projects.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has approved a bill to help reform the agriculture sector by estranging a politically powerful farming lobby by revising agriculture laws. The revision to the agriculture laws is aimed at depriving the lobby, the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, of its privileged status, which includes the right to supervise local cooperatives, by 2019, reports Japan Times.
The umbrella organization, better known as JA-Zenchu, has dominated the agriculture system for the past 60 years. If the bill passes, which is likely, it will become a general incorporated body, like Keidanren (Japan Business Federation).
The reform is expected to weaken JA-Zenchu’s grip and offer greater local autonomy to local co-ops at a time when the government is trying to improve the industry’s competitiveness and is negotiating a number of free trade agreements that may trigger an influx of cheaper produce from abroad.
The bill stipulates that half of the board members at agricultural cooperatives should be chosen from among registered farmers or professional sellers of agricultural produce, in principle, with the aim of strengthening their business.
It will also allow another industry body, the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations, or Zen-Noh, which is in charge of sales of agricultural produce, to shift to a stock company — a change apparently aimed at focusing more on profitability.