Support for Young Farmers - A Political Priority for the Future15 June 2012
EU - Despite EU and Member State initiatives, the farming population is getting older and the number of young farmers in the EU is still rapidly decreasing, according to a report produced by the European Commission.
The decline of agriculture as an economic activity in terms of providing employment is a common characteristic of all EU Member States, however the decline in number of older farmers is much smaller than that of younger farmers.
Despite this, the statistics show that young farmers perform better than older ones. Younger farmers tend to be better trained and so perform better in terms of economic potential, farm size and labour productivity.
A new generation of farmers is essential if we are to maintain viable food production and improve the competitiveness of the sector.
The brief says that in order for EU farms to become modern and competitive, young farmers need support for initial investments, access to loans, business advice and training.
Young farmers are constrained by their lack of access to land. Close to 70 per cent of them work on farms smaller than 10 ha.
At the same time, the share of agricultural land farmed by young farmers is decreasing.
Attracting new entrants to a sector characterised by low average income levels and various sources of uncertainties is a challenge that needs to be urgently addressed to secure the future of farming and food supply in the EU, concludes the brief.
This week, President of the European Council of Young Farmers', Joris Baecke is in Rio de Janerio for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
"The need to promote agriculture to the world’s younger generations is evident, as well as the value of this for future global growth and sustainability. This conference represents a prime opportunity for CEJA to raise awareness of the issue and advocate generational renewal as an essential part of a necessary move towards international food security and agricultural sustainability,” Mr Baecke said.
Further ReadingYou can view the full brief by clicking here.