Opportunities and achievements achieved by organic farmers through sixth industrialization and cloud funding

Mr. Kazutoshi Ozara, who started farming 8 years ago after giving up sala. As a full-time small-scale farmer, we currently work with five people, including a wife, two trainees and a part-time employee.

In May of this year, he took on the “cloud funding” challenge to improve his processed products and feel a strong response. As a result, we have succeeded in our sixth industrialization not only for fundraising but also for ‘marketing’ and ‘product PR’.

■ Starting with Kale’s “seed” was given to the Dutch

I asked my acquaintance Yahyakuya, “A man moving to Kobe from the Netherlands is looking for someone who can grow kale”, and I met the Dutch. Speaking of kale, the image of the green juice is strong, but in Europe and the United States it is a major vegetable and appears to be eaten like cabbage. I was asked to plant it with seeds imported from the Netherlands as it was not available in Japanese supermarkets.

As I got older, I noticed that the leaves were curly and different from the green water kale I knew. Actually, I didn’t know “Curly Kale” until then. It is soft, has no bitter taste and is quite nutritious. I think the young leaves are as delicious as a raw salad and a wonderful vegetable. Over the next 5 years, we have increased production by planting our own seeds.

■ 6th industrialization and encounter with processing companies

I heard that a kale wholesale supermarket processes it into dry chips and commercializes it, so I decided to try it myself. After all, french fries are also a standard commodity in Europe and the US, and seem in high demand from foreigners.

First, we season the warm air-dried product and commercialize it. It was sold to Westerners and Indians, but it was not accepted by the Japanese at all and sales were sluggish.

Also for the upper layer of the hot pot soup

I heard that a dried fruit processing company I happened to know about used the vacuum frying method and asked for a prototype. Since it is slowly fried at a low temperature of about 60 degrees, the texture is completely different from drying with warm air. It is crunchy and has a light taste and a good finish, and even a light taste is really delicious. As soon as I ate one piece, I believed this dish to suit Japanese taste and decided to change the method of production.

Fully compatible with alcohol and beer

■ Cloud funding opportunities

I spent money on product improvements and I wanted to innovate on the packaging, so I wondered if I could raise that money through cloud sponsorship. There was a person in Kobe who opened a restaurant with cloud funding, and first I went to that person’s seminar and learn more.

Right now, there are about 200 companies that fund the cloud, but I put them in “Makuake”, a company that sells products.

■ Cloud funding tips

Procedures and fees vary depending on the operator, but it would be helpful to start from where we advise on how to sell and screen the product. We also receive detailed advice on the return content and site design. The “Makuake” page is still useful as a digital catalog and I use it to explain Kale Chips products.

■ “Increase name” and “direct response”

I was amazed at the power of notifications and the power of impact because I care more than I imagined by just telling people close to me that I will start cloud funding. With the support of people I have never met, thanks to that, the name of the product has increased.

Reaction to the product also comes directly. Since the french fries do not have valuable pesticides, we recognize that the demand is potential. Now, we are starting to interact with supermarkets in particular regarding their product line.

■ I want to pass cloud funding to farmers

The most serious challenge facing farmers is cash flow. Even if you spend a lot of your initial investment, the unit price of vegetables is a few hundred yen, so you won’t be profitable immediately. Bank lending has been tighter every year, and to be honest, our management has not been smooth.

In such a situation, the method of getting product finance first and collecting money on the Internet may be suitable for agriculture. From now on, I would recommend it to many farmers. Actually, I’m also thinking about the second challenge.

Photo provided by Kyoko Kataoka, tree trunk design