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Protecting the Next Generation of EU Farmers

12 September 2012, at 12:50pm

EU - Addressing all 27 EU Ministers for Agriculture, young farmer representative Joris Baecke urged the Council to adopt and strengthen proposed measures for young farmers in the future CAP.

The continuation of the downward trend in the access of young people to the farming sector is too dramatic to leave this issue unanswered. Noting in particular the need for increased food production in the future alongside increasing demands of environmental standards, Mr Baecke questioned the relevance of efforts to secure environmental and economic sustainability without accompanying measures for strong demographic sustainability in the sector.

The Cypriot Informal Farm Council took place in Nicosia in Cyprus from 9 to 11 September 2012. The meeting revolved around the Cypriot Presidency’s theme of: “Conserving Europe’s potential for the production of food, renewables and public goods: addressing water scarcity and land abandonment linked to adverse climatic conditions.”

Highlighting the importance of generational renewal to ensuring food security and avoiding land abandonment, as well as the contribution to increased environmental sustainability likely to be made by young, educated and innovative farmers, Mr Baecke stressed how crucial the young farmers’ measures in the CAP proposals are, and how much support they need. Outlining these measures, Mr Baecke stated: “We need a Common Installation Policy alongside a Common Agriculture Policy, and I want to emphasise the word ‘common’. The European Union is facing a collective problem which needs a collective solution."

The CEJA President outlined his support for a mandatory top-up for young farmers in the first pillar of the CAP as a necessary effective measure to revive generational renewal in European agriculture. Mr Baecke ended the speech with an appeal to European leaders to heed his words, stating that “the future of European food production is in [their] hands” and that “it is the scarce resource of generational renewal in European farming that is in need of the most urgent protection.”