Young farmers need to be shown that there is a viable future in farming if they are to enter a career in the sector, EU farm ministers were told on Friday.

The umbrella organisation for young farmers’ groups, CEJA, told a meeting of ministers in Prague that getting younger farmers involved in the sector will be needed to improve farm sustainability and increase food security.

Ministers heard that the challenges facing farms, from high inflation to summer drought on the continent, were off-putting to young farmers considering a career in farming.

CEJA president Diana Lenzi said that the EU should focus on strategies which improve both sustainability and food security in addressing these challenges.

“As a young farmer representative organisation, CEJA is concerned that current difficulties and uncertainties may alter the vocation and willingness of young people to set up in agriculture,” the CEJA present said.

“Our degree of resilience will come from our success or failure to make our food system more sustainable, and our capacity to fill the investment gap currently at play in agriculture.

“In order for farmers to be part of the transformation, while maintaining food security for all, we need to demonstrate that there is a future in farming,” she commented.

No silver bullet

The ministers were warned by Lenzi to take caution in policymaking to ensure that no two sections of the sector were put against each other, such as larger and smaller farmers.

Action across all areas would be needed to solve food security and sustainability challenges facing Europe, she said.

“The complexity of the problem is so vast that looking at it with silver bullet approach is bound to failure.

“Instead, we should seize the many opportunities and solutions that come from the beautiful diversity of our agriculture.”