22 Septembre 2014
September 22, 2014
By KAZUMASA SUGIMURA/ Staff Writer
RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture--As the Tohoku region enters harvest season, rice is being gathered here for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Farmers were seen operating combines for harvesting rice stalks in the city's Otomo district on Sept. 20.
"I was worried whether the earth would be rich enough to grow our rice," said Tsuyoshi Murakami, a 43-year-old farmer who harvested rice on the day. "But it has grown firmly."
The rice fields were inundated by the massive tsunami unleashed by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, and left covered in debris.
The loss of the fields, as well as equipment, was almost the final blow to local farming businesses, which were already facing an aging population of about 400 farmers and a lack of successors.
However, determined to grow rice again, the farmers formed the Sun Farm Otomo juridical agricultural union in March.
The group reorganized 87 hectares of farmland and restarted farming businesses by planting such rice strains as Takata no Yume, which was developed locally following the disaster.
The harvesting will continue until early October.