Record snowfall in Japan hammers farm industry

14,099 vinyl greenhouses in 29 prefectures were damaged or destroyed, according to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.

Heavy snowfalls in the Kanto and Koshin regions caused damage costs totaling more than ¥50 billion in Tokyo and four other prefectures.

Vinyl greenhouses collapsed in many parts of the regions, delivering a heavy blow to farmers on their way to recovery from harmful rumors about radiation that resulted from the crisis at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The greenhouses of a strawberry farmer in Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture, collapsed under the weight of snow on Feb. 15. All 13,000 strawberry plants bearing ripe fruit in eight greenhouses were destroyed, with financial damage estimated at more than ¥30 million.

In Maebashi, despite reinforcing his greenhouses to resist the weight of snow, all of a cucumber farmer’s 14 greenhouses collapsed.

In Iida, Nagano Prefecture, record snowfall of 81 cm (32 inches) collapsed 14 greenhouses housing tomato, green peppers and other crops.

“We’re starting at a loss. My fellow farmers also are feeling the same,” a disappointed 57-year-old farmer in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, said, with drooping shoulders in front of his collapsed vinyl greenhouses. The city is a leading tomato producer.

At a farm in Yokoze, Saitama Prefecture, seven of 13 greenhouses where tourists can pick strawberries as well as greenhouses for grapes and shiitake mushroom lie in ruins.

The Yamanashi prefectural government on Monday announced that 1,723 facilities had been damaged by the snow, with total financial damage standing at ¥7.09 billion.

“About 80 percent of vinyl greenhouses for grapes collapsed,” said Yamanashi Gov. Shomei Yokouchi.

Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for this link

5 thoughts on “Record snowfall in Japan hammers farm industry”

  1. I see that around my area most greenhoses have been crushed flat.
    Millions of yen lost in my village alone.
    For some farmers this winter would have ruined them for sure.

  2. This interests me as I’m currently designing plastic covered geodesic dome greenhouses specifically for use in northern Europe where high winds, big dumps of snow and late spring frosts are likely to compromise food production. Japan has been on the cusp of the jet-stream recently and this article shows what is in store for farmers working along the circumpolar front in the coming decade.

  3. and no one heres asked why?? they would be growing summer fruit n veg IN WINTER?
    I am sorry for them, but the whole premise of greenhouses with massive not UNxpected winter snow is simply asking for trouble.

    • Actually while the western side and north gets heavy snow every year the east side doesnt.
      This year however the east side had massive amounts of snow which is totally unexpected.
      In the 15 years that I have lived in Japan this is the first time the east side has had so much snow.
      My area normaly gets about 50cm each time it snows and will snow like that several times throughout winter. The greenhouses here can handle that. This time however we have had snow dumps of 80+cm 100+cm and a dump of 200cm in just 24 hours. Very unusual.
      Tokyo had 25+cm twice in a space of a week where they normally only get a few cms at most during the whole winter do very unusual.
      So you see having grenhouses in this part of the country is usually NOT asking for trouble.
      If these extremely heavy snow events become a regular thing each winter on the eastern side then yes farmers may need to think about whether or not farming in winter will be possible.

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