Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2016, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (6): 486-494.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2016.06.009

• Contents • Previous Articles    

Empowerment of an Aging Population and Rural Women Farmers: a Small Business Model-A Japanese Case Study

QIU Zhenmian1, 2, CHEN Bixia3, *   

  1. 1. Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University, Kakuma, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-1192, Japan;
    2. School of Economics, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350108, China;
    3. Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Faculty of Agriculture, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
  • Received:2016-03-22 Revised:2016-07-05 Online:2016-11-15 Published:2016-11-15
  • Contact: CHEN Bixia. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    UNU-IAS Operating Unit of Ishikawa Kanazawa for this study’s field survey; The cooperative research program of Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University(No.29, 2015).

Abstract: Using the combined approach of questionnaire and semi-structured interview, this study aims to examine the characteristics of a small agricultural business, and benefits perceived by the participants, and challenges. The “multi-industrial system” regional initiative for creating new high-value-added businesses project encourages rural residents to commercialize their surplus agricultural and forestry products, such as pickled or dried wild and cultivated plants. Knowledgeable older people, women farmers in particular, are motivated to market their vegetables directly to the urban market, and their home-processed wild plants to local restaurants and hotels. It found that the older people involved in the business considered that their health and economic situation had been improved through participating in vegetable cultivation and sales. Some lessons from this case study can be identified: the empowerment of older people and women farmers, through active interaction with the market and learning new technologies, including internet-based information search strategies.

Key words: aging population, disadvantaged region, farmers’, rural regeneration, wellbeing, women’s empowerment