90% of Japan’s dairy farmers hit by weaker yen, pandemic

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cows are seen in a barn in Nasu-Shiobara, Tochigi Prefecture, on June 29.

More than 90% of dairy farmers said they have struggled financially over the past year due to the weaker yen pushing up livestock costs and declining demand for produce amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the Japan Dairy Council.

The Tokyo-based association conducted the online survey from June 9-14, receiving responses from 197 dairy farmers across the nation.

In the survey, 92.4% of respondents said their respective businesses had suffered financial difficulties over the past year.

Regarding business performance in the past month, 65.5% of respondents said their figures were in the red.

When asked to give reasons for the deterioration — with multiple answers allowed — 89.8% of respondents cited the weaker yen, followed by 85.3% who referenced the Ukraine crisis and 84.3% who flagged high oil prices.

The survey results show that soaring prices of animal feed and fuel oil due to the depreciation of the yen and the situation in Ukraine have adversely affected business operations.

In the survey, 70.6% of respondents blamed the pandemic for the drop in demand for dairy produce, while 48.2% pointed to the suspension of milk servings as part of school lunches.

Some 55.8% of respondents said they would be unable to continue dairy farming if the current business environment continues unchanged.