Generational renewal in agriculture was debated by MEPs and young farmers at the European Parliament in Brussels on 12 April at an event organized by MEP Milan Zver of the EPP group and CEJA, the European Council of Young Farmers. The event gatherd young farmers from all over Europe.
MEP Milan Zver said that “this event is set at a crucial time when only 6% of Europe’s farmers are below the age of 35” and added that these figures give a clear message to all of us: “generational renewal in agriculture must be a priority. At the European Parliament we need to look at what specific measures can benefit young farmers as they are crucial targets to make agriculture more innovative and competitive.”
Chairman of the EPP Group Joseph Daul, outlined key aspects of the development in agriculture today. “It is crucial to find solutions on the appropriate level and balance between public and private financing of agricultural projects,“ said Mr Daul, noting that it is increasingly difficult for farmers in the EU to earn deserved income. “Do we have strategy for food security in medium and long term on how we will feed our 500 million people?” asked Daul and said this question must be taken seriously.
MEP Elisabeth Koestinger, stressed that policy aimed to encourage young farmers has failed and added that “we need to take measures that would establish the right conditions in order to make it easier for young people to come into farming,” said Koestinger and concluded: ”There should be more attention given to training, technology and research that can improve the lives of young farmers.”
CEJA President Joris Baecke, maintained that the “new CAP should truly prioritize young farmers with a wide ranging set of policies in the form of a Young Farmers Package. At present there are clear discrepancies with several member states choosing to opt-out of supporting young farmers in rural development policy. CEJA calls on European decision makers to see generational renewal in agriculture as a strategic priority in the CAP post 2013 reform.”
Three young farmers’ representatives, Rok Sedminek from Slovenia, Kieran McEvoy from Ireland and Carole Dore from France then presented their experiences with education, training and farm take over as well as explored the possibility of improving installation policy within in the CAP reform.
Watch the TV report on the event below (English and Slovenian)
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