Agriculture and Industrialising East

Award No.: L324253012

Award Holder: Dr. P. Francks

Period of Report: 1.1.96 - 31.12.96

Institution: Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds

Amount of Award: £68,060

Aims and Methods:

The project is designed to produce a comparative study of agriculture and agricultural policy during the industrialisation of Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The aim is both to provide a detailed picture of developments in agriculture to complement the much more extensive literature available in English on the industrial sectors of these countries, and to consider whether there are common patterns in the responses of farmers and policy-makers which can be seen as part of the 'East Asian development model'. The method has involved the collection and analysis of a wide range of statistical and qualitative material in Japanese, Chinese and Korean which will provide the sources for the project's publications.

The research assistants on the project began work in February and March respectively and will complete their contracts early next year. All three of us made research trips of 4-6 weeks to, respectively, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in the early summer and have since then been working together in Leeds on reading and writing up the material we collected. We found that we needed to spend rather more on books and materials and rather less on travel and subsistence costs than the estimates in the original budget but ended up balanced overall.


A major part of our work, both before and after our research trips, has involved constructing a broad picture of agricultural change in the three countries over the course of their industrialisation and broadly similar trends have emerged in, for example, the rapid structural change in the economy as agriculture declines, the persistence of the small-scale farm with its basis in rice cultivation, the growth of part-time farming as a labour transfer mechanism and trade patterns combining declining overall self-sufficiency in food products with rising levels of protection, especially for rice. A more detailed focus for our work has emerged out of our efforts to understand the complex forms of state intervention in the rice markets of all three countries. Striking similarities appear to exist in the development over time of the institutional mechanisms involved, as farmers, bureaucrats and political authorities have sought to deal both with the food supply problems of rapidly industrialising economies and with the consequences of their interventionist methods in later periods of liberalisation and 'trade friction'. What we are thus beginning to be able to construct is a model of the system by means of which the 'East Asian bureaucratic developmental state' attempts to control agriculture's role in the industrialisation process and to deal with the subsequent agricultural adjustment problem.


Detailed Progress:

The first part of the year, once the research assistants were in post, was spent surveying the material available in this country and setting up the research trips. I then spent July in Tokyo, based at the Nogyo Sogo Kenkyu-jo ( the research centre and library of the Ministry of Agriculture). Ms Boestel spent six weeks in Taipei, using the Taiwanese National Library and specialist economic and agricultural collections, and consulting academic experts and government officials. Mr. Kim was in Korea for a month, locating and ordering materials and making contact with academics and officials, and he made use of the libraries of the Korea Agricultural Research Institute, the Korea Development Institute and others. (More detailed reports on the individual visits, as well as financial breakdowns, are available if required.) A large amount of books and papers was shipped back to Leeds and now constitutes a substantial collection of material in Japanese, Chinese and Korean on agriculture and agricultural policy. Since our return, we have been reading this material and writing the working papers which will form the basis for the book. I have given seminars on the project at Cambridge and Essex.

The organisation of the presentation of our results was clarified through the preparation of the book proposal for Routledge. The main body of the book will consist of detailed case-studies for each country, covering in each case one chapter on agriculture's role in the industrialisation process and one on policy dealing with the agricultural adjustment problem in recent years. Chapters 1 and 2 will set out the comparative framework of the project, in theory (chap. 1) and in terms of the similarities and differences between the countries in agricultural environment and in agriculture's changing position in the overall economy and society (chap.2). A final chapter will set out the conclusions of the comparative study.

The research assistants will be completing their contracts in February and March and will by then have put together the body of statistics and descriptive working papers which will constitute the basis for the book. Both will still be engaged in academic work after that and will be able to remain in contact during the final stages of the writing up of the material. I have been granted sabbatical leave for Semester 1 of 1997/8 to enable me to complete the writing of the book and, given the progress that has already been made on it, it should be possible to submit the manuscript to a publisher by the end of 1997.

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