Providing a Wide Range of Management Support Services
The AFFF Unit provides various suggestions and offers information for customers tailored to their needs and concerns at convenient locations. Such services include management improvement advice, business match-making, and referrals to experts.
Management Consulting Services
Consulting Services Provided at Locations Convenient for Customers
The AFFF Unit provides easily accessible consultation services at branches nationwide, a customer call center, and at 123 consultation service sites that operate throughout Japan on a routine schedule.
Business Matching Support
Agri-Food EXPO, Domestic Agricultural Product Exhibition and Business Fair Held
In FY2013 the AFFF Unit again hosted the Agri-Food EXPO, Japan's largest agricultural product exhibition and business fair, in Tokyo (August 2013) and in Osaka (February 2014).
Held since FY2006, the Agri-Food EXPO is an exhibition and business fair for providing business matching opportunities that link farmers and food processors, who are looking for market expansion, together with buyers.
Farmers and food processors committed to local agricultural produce came to exhibit from all over Japan, and held lively business negotiations with the buyers in attendance.
Advanced Management Supports Such as Overseas Expansion, etc. through Collaboration with External Networks
The AFFF Unit collaborates with external networks (Japan Professional Agriculture total support Organization (J-PAO), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and other organizations) to support the business growth of its customers and respond accurately to the diverse management issues they face, such as the development of new sales channels, financial improvement, and productivity enhancement.
For example, J-PAO uses its members from a wide variety of types of businesses and its agriculture-support know-how to provide sales and commercialization support to customers. JETRO hosts an export business conference at Agri-Food EXPO Tokyo and Osaka, where it provides assistance in the form of matching with overseas buyers.
In FY2013, the "Trial Export Support Project" (preparations for exporting, exporting procedures, sales feedback from export destinations, etc.) was started in conjunction with export companies throughout Japan to provide support to customers exporting agricultural products, etc. for the first time.
Business Management Support by Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Management Advisors
Responding to requests from farmers for advice on taxes, labor, marketing, and other topics from experts who understand the unique characteristics of agriculture, the AFFF Unit created the Agricultural Management Advisor program in FY2005. As of March 31, 2014, examinations had been conducted 18 times and a total of 2,675 Agricultural Management Advisors now serve in all 47 prefectures. The AFFF Unit also conducted the Agricultural Management Senior Advisor program to develop staff with the skills to play a leading role in more advanced management issues. 32 people across Japan were registered through this program.
The Forestry and Fishery Management Advisor Program, created in FY2008 has produced 29 Forestry Management Advisors and 30 Fishery Management Advisors.
The AFFF Unit provides support for the business growth of its customers by utilizing staff members who have become Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Management Advisors. The Unit also provides comprehensive management support services in collaboration with non-JFC management advisors, including tax accountants and SME management consultants.
Supporting Management with New Financing Techniques
Efforts to Speed Up Loan Procedures
By introducing a loan screening process that uses the agricultural business version of a scoring model (Note 1) in connection with loans to farmers, the AFFF Unit works speed up procedures.
As well, approved agricultural businesses requesting loans for up to 5 million yen from the Super L Loan who meet certain conditions are given a response within six business days as to whether or not they qualify for loans without the requirement of collateral or a guarantor.
Efforts Concerning Loans Not Relying Excessively on Real Estate Collateral
Since FY2008, as a means of financing that does not rely on real estate collateral, the AFFF Unit has promoted the dissemination of an asset-based lending (ABL) program in the agricultural, forestry and fisheries sectors and the food industry which uses livestock and so on as collateral. In FY2013, a total of 39 loans (totaling 2.2 billion yen) were provided to the beef cattle, pig and dairy farming sectors.
One new ABL agreement (Note 2) was entered into, bringing the cumulative total to 53. The AFFF Unit will continue to promote management support for customers by working to spread the use of ABL.
- A system independently developed by the AFFF Unit for assessing the creditworthiness of agricultural management on an individual basis, by taking into account the characteristics of the agricultural management, adding production-related data and qualitative information to financial data, and then combining these with the characteristics of each farming type.
- The AFFF Unit has entered into an ABL agreement with business operators engaged in livestock, meat and other sectors, to build cooperative arrangements such as those pertaining to the preservation and disposal of movable collateral.
Efforts for Business Recovery Support
The AFFF Unit provides customers with business recovery support which is essential for the maintenance and development of local agricultural, forestry and fisheries businesses.
Specifically, the Unit cooperates with commercial financial institutions, such as main banks, and external experts to provide support needed for the formulation of business improvement plans, and offers ongoing business consultation and guidance after plans have been implemented. In particular, the Unit works to aid business recovery for agricultural businesses--which are characteristically susceptible to natural disasters and market conditions--through means such as support by Agricultural Management Advisors with formulation of plans, assistance in locating sponsors using JFC's network, and monitoring by experts in fields such as production technology.
In order to promote business rehabilitation for customers affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the AFFF Unit is also committed to providing quick support for rehabilitation and reconstruction, by cooperating with industrial recovery consultation centers and other organizations in the affected areas.