In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “The next generation of farmers: successes and new opportunities”, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.
Generation Africa: Inspiring young Africans to become Agri-Food entrepreneurs
Pan-African telecommunications, media and technology group, Econet (www.Econetwireless.com), and global crop nutrition leader, Yara International ASA, today launch “Generation Africa”, a partnership initiative to inspire young African entrepreneurs to join the agri-food sector for its viable business opportunities. Generation Africa will reach thousands of young people through its “GoGettaz” competition, which will award US$100,000 in prize money to two exceptional business ventures in the agri-food sector. The partnership initiative will support a cohort of 12 budding young agri-food entrepreneurs to scale and prosper their ventures. “Africa’s agri-food sector presents a US$ 1-trillion business opportunity  by 2030, especially when connected with the current technology revolution. Across Africa’s agri-food chain, innovations can be found in how we grow, harvest, process, store, transport, package, sell and consume food. Together with the pioneers of Africa’s next generation, we want to seize these opportunities. Generation Africa will help youth entrepreneurs launch, grow and mature agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better food supply,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.
Millennials ‘Make Farming Sexy’ in Africa, Where Tilling the Soil Once Meant Shame
New York Times; 27/05/2019
After he graduated from university, Vozbeth Kofi Azumah was reluctant to tell anyone — even his mother — what he planned to do for a living. “I’m a farmer,” he said, buzzing his motorcycle between freshly plowed fields on a recent afternoon. “Here, that’s an embarrassment.” In some parts of the world, farmers are viewed with respect and cultivating the land is seen as an honorable trade. But in a region where most agriculture is still for subsistence — relying on cutlass, hoe and a hope for rain — farming is a synonym for poverty. But Mr. Azumah is among a growing number of young, college-educated Africans fighting the stigma by seeking to professionalize farming. They are applying scientific approaches and data-crunching apps not just to increase yields, but to show that agriculture can be profitable.
Young farmers: €1 billion to facilitate access to finance for young EU farmers
The Poultry Site; 30/04/2019
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched 29 April a €1 billion loans package targeting specifically young farmers. In 2017, 27 percent of the loan applications submitted to banks by EU young farmers were rejected, compared to only 9 percent for other farms. Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Access to finance is crucial and too often an obstacle for young people wanting to join the profession. With 11 percent of European farmers under the age of 40 years old, supporting young farmers in the sector is a priority for the European Commission and the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy. I am pleased to see this new joint initiative up and running.” EIB Vice-President responsible for agriculture and bioeconomy, Andrew McDowell commented: “The agricultural sector is the backbone of the EU economy and has a key role to play not just in producing healthy food but also to battle climate change and preserve the environment. With this new initiative, the EIB is looking towards the future of the sector and addressing an important market gap, the lack of access to finance of farmers, especially the next generation of farmers. This programme loan will also support growth and competitiveness in the agriculture/bioeconomy sector, by preserving and creating employment in the rural and coastal regions.”
European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector
The Task Force for Rural Africa delivered its final report on March 7, an agri-food and rural agenda for the new ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs’ unveiled by President Jean-Claude Juncker in the 2018 State of the Union. According to the recommendations of this group of African and European experts, Africa and the EU should develop a partnership operating at three levels: people to people, business to business, and government to government. It would institute a multi-stakeholder dialogue at all levels, starting locally, and enable a closer connection between African and European societies, business communities and governments. Launched in May 2018 by the European Commission, the Task Force was set up to provide advice on strengthening the Africa-Europe partnership in food and farming. The European Commission will ensure follow-up and implementation of several actions recommended by this group of experts to support the development of African agri-food sector and rural economy.
Young people and women in EU farming
The EU farming sector is faced with an ageing population. In 2016 only 11% of farm managers in the EU were young farmers under the age of 40 years, according to Eurostat. According to European Parliament surveys, even though EU assistance has been available to young farmers for more than three decades, the ‘young farmer problem’ seems to remain. The European Commission’s proposal for the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has set nine objectives, one of which is generational renewal. The CAP budget will play a key role in achieving these goals but its future level is uncertain because member states are still discussing EU budget priorities for the period 2021-2027. Another issue is the role of women in EU agriculture. Eurostat data from 2013 shows that on average around 30% of farms across the EU are managed by a woman. The differences among member states are remarkable, ranging from just over 5% in the Netherlands to around 47% in Lithuania. In February 2017, the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee and Women’s Committee approved a report calling for an enhanced role of women in EU farming. EU lawmakers believe that women have a key role in helping to revive rural areas as well as avoiding further urbanisation.
The EU Commission established the Task Force Rural Africa to advise on how best to contribute to sustainable development and job creation in Africa’s agriculture and food sectors and rural economy. It was asked to focus on better coordination of existing initiatives, on boosting investments, sharing knowledge, prioritizing policy and regulatory reforms, and strategies to support youth. The Task Force now presents its key areas for action and recommendations, situating them in the context of the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs which aims to deepen the EU’s economic and trade partnership with Africa through investment and job creation