With this catchy slogan hundreds of young farmers manifested in Madrid last month in front of the Ministry of Agriculture. The manifestation was organised by the young sector of COAG, calling the Minister to help young people to enter the farming sector.
I was rather shocked to read that in Spain young farmers below 35 years old represent only the 5,3% of the total number of farmers while the farmers over 55 years represent the 55,3%. In addition, in 2012, only 3,4% of the beneficiaries of the CAP aid were under 35, while those who were 65 years of older received the 40.57%.
The working population in Rural areas is declining and although there is a great youth unemployment in Spain, either the link between not having a job and becoming a professional farmer is not made or there are no enough incentives to connect the two.
“Young people are the future for the rural world and for producing food for more than 500 million Europeans, as well as to protect and conserve most of the territory of Spain and Europe. COAG believes that in order to have a real integration of the young and to maintain a sufficient active farming population that will ensure the food supply of European society, we need policies that will encourage the integration of the young..”
Young farmers and farmers feel that they are not sufficiently covered by agricultural policies and rural development programs. The main obstacles to a young person who would like to enter the agricultural sector are:
-No access to CAP funds. In Spain currently there are 900.000 recipients of the CAP aid while only 300.000 are professionals. If the money were distributed only to profesionals in farming there will be money to help the young farmers.
- High land prices in relation to the low income from farming activity
- No easy access to credit for the young people
- Too much buraucracy for getting the aid
- No budget and co-financing from rural development programs and in particular the policies that are promoting integration and modernization