Promoting young farmers through Farmer Organizations
To effectively inspire young people to get involved in agriculture, it is necessary to identify "soft" and "hard factors” that encourage or discourage young farmers to choose a career in agriculture and thus either take over the family farm, start a new farm, or choose an agricultural profession (e.g., agricultural machinery trader).
"Soft factors" refer to the socialization period in the family and the immediate social environment in which the image of agriculture is developed and which determines the desire to go into agriculture. "Soft factors" are, for example, the transfer of knowledge and information, communication, the image of agriculture, and young people's attitudes toward agriculture in their family and personal environment.
"Hard factors," such as economic considerations, availability of land and resources, access to innovations, and the use of more information and communication technologies (ICTs), are also crucial in determining whether or not a young person chooses agriculture. These "hard factors" set the framework for action, which, however, farm families often cannot directly influence.
The three seminars in the Transitional Agriculture Project's second seminar block in 2021 focus specifically on the role of Farmer Organizations (FOs) in supporting intergenerational exchange in agriculture and empowering young people to get engaged in agriculture. While the "soft factors" were the focus of the seminar on June 17, the "hard factors" will be addressed at the upcoming seminar on July 1, 2021.
For the first seminar, the participants, representatives of national FOs from Ghana, Rwanda, Malawi, Germany, Zimbabwe, and Russia, conducted video interviews with young farmers from their region in advance of the seminar to identify the "soft factors” motivating, driving, but also challenging young farmers. The organizations also tried to find out in which areas young farmers would need more support from them.
During the seminar, the video interviews were presented and in response, the FOs presented their current support in the decision-making process of young farmers. Afterwards, they discussed how far they see a connection between the statements of the young farmers and the presented support of their organization, but also what is still missing.
We are looking forward to the second seminar on 01 July 2021 where the representatives will exchange their views on the "hard factors" related to the decision-making process of young farmers.