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Japan Agricultural Fertilizer Market

Japan’s Food and Agricultural Materials Inspection Center (FAMIC) manages the approval of fertilizers that enter Japan’s agricultural market. 

Agricultural business is a key industry for Japan. The structure of agricultural business in Japan is quite different from western models. Most Japanese farms are small family-owned businesses that have been in the same family for centuries. There are few large, corporate-owned farms in Japan. The average farm in Japan in 2019 was about 2.99 hectares (about 7.4 acres), which is drastically smaller than the average farm size in Europe (about 50- 60 hectares, or 120 -150 acres) and Australia (about 4,477 hectares, or 11,062 acres).

Fertilizer is a key component in supporting these small-scale farms. The Japanese fertilizer market stands at $3.1 billion. Of this amount, Japan imported $671 million worth of fertilizers in 2020, with the U.S. is one of the top suppliers. Japan has strict food safety regulations. The list of the minimum and/or maximum active ingredients allowed for the fertilizers Japan is available here. FAMIC (Food and Agricultural Materials Inspection Center), part of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), is responsible for the fertilizer approval process. Unfortunately, only limited information is available in English on the FAMIC website. As a part of the approval process, FMAIC requires the fertilizer manufacturer to have Japan-based staff or a Japanese agent/distributor with Japanese language communication capability.

Assuming the fertilizer meets all requirements, a U.S. exporter must follow these instructions to get FAMIC/MAFF certification. This process includes submission of 500 grams of sample product and Japanese 3rd party lab certification of the ingredients.  Approval is usually issued one to two months after all required documents, samples, and lab certifications are submitted. Irrespective of origin, all fertilizer manufacturers must gain these approvals to sell in Japan.   

U.S. exporters can register their products under their own company name, instead of under the Japanese distributor’s name.  One stipulation for registering under your own company’s name is that company must be the “manufacturer” of the product.  A distributor, wholesaler, or group company with only sales function of the product can’t register under their name if they are not manufacturing the product. 

For further information, please contact at U.S. Commercial Service Osaka-Kobe