Changes in the Locational Strategies of Japanese Feed Firms

  • GOTO Takuya
    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Kyushu University

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  • 日本における飼料企業の立地戦略とその変化
  • ニホン ニ オケル シリョウ キギョウ ノ リッチ センリャク ト ソノ ヘンカ

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to clarify how Japanese feed firms change their locational strategies from the viewpoint of economic geography. Until the mid-1970s, Japanese feed firms had developed by distributing their own feed factories throughout the country. However, after the mid-1980s, Japanese feed firms have been forced to change their locational strategies markedly because of the locational changes in livestock farming areas and the liberalization of livestock product trade. Under these conditions, it is clear that the private feed firms have gained feed production share by changing their feed production and supply strategies drastically, whereas Zen-Noh (National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations) has lagged behind in changing its strategies after the mid-1980s.<br>The locational strategies by private feed firms are examined, taking the examples of the largest 10 nationwide. Those 10 private firms have rationalized their feed production and supply systems after the mid-1980s through interfirm alliances: 1) organization of joint-venture feed factories; and 2) entrusting feed production to other firms. In particular, three private firms (Nippon Formula Feed Mfg. Co., Ltd., Kyodo Shiryo Co., Ltd., and Marubeni Shiryo Co., Ltd.) have reduced production ratios in their own factories markedly by entering into alliances with other private firms. That is, they have moved their feed supply bases to peripheral regions without investing in the establishment of new feed factories by making use of interfirm alliances.<br>On the other hand, when the locational strategies of Zen-Noh are examined, it is clear that it has rationalized feed production and supply systems by: 1) amalgamation of affiliated feed firms; and 2) extension of feed supply areas. The aim of the former is to reduce farmers' feed purchase costs by authorizing affiliated feed firms to supply them with feed directly, and the aim of the latter is to establish an efficient feed transport system by extending feed supply areas across prefectural borders. However, Zen-Noh cannot change the locational strategies drastically because it still holds small-scale livestock farming areas and farmers throughout the country. Consequently, Zen-Noh has steadily lost feed production share to private firms.<br>It is clear that Zen-Noh has relied on strategies based on vertical integration, whereas private firms have relied on strategies based on horizontal integration. Therefore the locational strategies of Japanese feed firms have been polar opposites since the mid-1980s.

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