– Thanks for your time today. Please tell us what crops you grow at Pony no Sato Farm.
The most important is an herb called Yamato Toki. It is an herb derived from Nara and is well known as a Chinese gynecological medicine. Not only cultivating, but also by themselves processing and selling to the market.
The Pony Village Farm was originally set up to support employment for people with disabilities. In recent terms, it is agricultural cooperation and wealth. People who hire directly as a company and who come from welfare institutions for job training grow agricultural products. However, I am independent as an agricultural manufacturing corporation because I want to not only support employment but also firmly build it as an agricultural industry.
At the time of establishment, the company mainly grew rice and scallions, easy to manage and sort at the time of shipment, because people with disabilities were easy to work with, but in 2011, Yamato Toki started to focus. I did. The reason is that I received a seedling from the prefecture. When I did it as an experiment, I was able to get a nice color and shape, so I started transferring it to a raw medicine wholesaler.
Takatori-cho was originally a land where the pharmaceutical business thrived, with nearly 20 farmers currently cultivating Yamato Toki. Toki is made all over the country, but the varieties vary from region to region, and it is said that the most luxurious is the Yamato Toki.
Previously, I only used the roots to make Chinese medicine, but now I also use the leaves for food. It is processed into herbal salt, sauces, tea, etc. and is sold. It is attracting so much attention that a local pharmaceutical company asked us to make a souvenir product in Nara.
-It is not only used as a medicinal herb but also as an edible product. I think Toki is made in many different places, but what is the unique characteristic of Pony no Sato Farm?
We believe in careful manufacturing through human hands. The manual work of each of you works politely. The beautiful color of dried Toki leaves is also the point where the selection is very carefully.
In addition, all who work are proud and work on their own. When a product is introduced in a newspaper or sold in a new location, the first to mention are people with disabilities who are working. He is also active in product development and gave us various ideas like “Can’t you make a trouble?” Or “Can you make bread?” You can see that they are fond of the product they are participating in.
Seeing such a number encourages sales. The more places you place your product, the more opportunities you have for customers to know about it and you can increase their work. We are doing more than just manufacturing to scale. We have also begun efforts to turn substandard vegetables purchased from other farmers into recently rejected wood processing and utilization products. We make ice and scrape existing parts from the chopped tree. Even if it’s only a small profit, but if the zero becomes a positive then it would be very good for the farmer, and it was two birds with one stone.
-It seems you can think of different business developments with the advantage of having a processing plant. Let us know what you want to achieve with this project.
Basically a desire to increase jobs in Takatori Town. It doesn’t matter whether you are disabled, healthy or old. We see Yamato Toki’s sixth agricultural and property cooperation and industrialization as a means to increase jobs and liven up the town.
I’m not from Takatori Town. When I went to Takatori-cho to work as a student, I started interacting with him, and when I wanted to do something in this town that I was looked after after graduating from college, I Speak to the representative of the Pony no Sato farm. I got a call and decided to work together. It’s been four years since I arrived in Takatori town. I’m not from Nara prefecture, so I’m a stranger.
However, internally or externally, I think that community revival is something that must be done. The population of Takatori Town is decreasing like other areas. People in their 60s and 70s are doing their best right now, but I don’t think it will be 10 years from now. So I want to encourage the younger generation to love Takatori-cho more and protect the town together.
-I want to repay Takatori, who took care of me. What do you think is needed to liven up the area?
I think the important thing is “awareness”. Just as Yamato Toki can not only be used as a Chinese medicine but also as food and cosmetics, Takatori has many attractions that the locals are not aware of. It would be great if you could realize the charm of the town through the various endeavors.
With that trend in mind, I want to take on the educational business challenge for children. There are two trigger factors. First is a seminar on medicinal herbs at the Children’s Association. Curiously, children say that the medicinal herbs that adults find bitter when eaten are sweet. On the contrary, the question arises, “Why is it that sweetness makes me bitter? In this way, I think that attracting people to Toki’s interest by taking a small opportunity will make their children bond with Takatori.
Second, I see a kid in elementary school looking at a foreign tourist and saying, “Foreigners are coming to Takatori. Please brag to our friends.” I realize that children are happy with such trivial problems. You can brag about your town as the staff at the Pony Village Farm take pride in their work. So I want to create an environment where children can brag about Takatori. I want to develop my business so that children can be proud that “Takatori’s medicinal herbs are very popular and sold nationwide”.