“Protecting our region and our farms ourselves” – Kumamoto Farmer Hunters’ measures against wild birds and animals
Kumamoto Farmer Hunters is a community of young farmers, who have pledged to “protect their region and farms themselves.” Over 100 farmers in Kumamoto prefecture as well as citizens, local governments, high schools, universities in the region as well as companies in Kumamoto and other prefectures that concur with the organization’s vision are working together to fight off wild birds and animals.
Due to the increase of deserted arable land, the biodiversity of the region is beginning to disappear. After her farm had been vandalized by wild boars, an elderly woman said that she thought about just calling it quits. This encouraged young farmers to form the “Kumamoto Farmer Hunters” and begin protecting their region and farms from wild birds and animals much like firefighters that protect the region.
Although united by the same vision, 70 farmers who joined the group hardly had any experience dealing with wild birds and animals. But working together with members of the regional hunting club, learning from one another, they began to accumulate know-how on how to capture wild boars that appear on farms in Kumamoto prefecture. Moreover, by taking advantage of crowdfunding, the group is able to receive assistance from across the country, enabling them to adopt box traps and IoT enabled surveillance systems.
Furthermore, by working closely with a diverse range of organizations including local governments, high schools, universities, and companies from Kumamoto and other prefectures, the group has continued to develop measures that integrate know-how and expertise of businesses as well as various technologies.
In the past, fighting off wild birds and animals was left up to the hunters. But the farmer hunters have taken it upon themselves to learn about hunting and to work closely with local communities. By doing so, they aim to cut off the negative chain reaction that begins when farmers abandon their farms due to wild boar damage and settlements fall apart.
These efforts have enabled farmer hunters to capture wild boars while farming, thereby improving their efficiency, and by effectively utilizing the captured boars, they have made their efforts sustainable. Since 2018, the farmer hunters have begun working with universities and major companies to begin a joint research into how they can adopt AI and other technologies to improve their hunting efficiency. And in September 2018, the group has launched an online farmer hunter shop where game meat such as wild boar is being sold.
In order to preserve the biodiversity of farmland, which is negatively impacted by abandoned arable land, the group works together with the local community to ensure Kumamoto’s sustainability. Kumamoto Farmer Hunters will continue to accelerate its efforts and also introduce and implement its activities to other prefectures.