CEJA President Jannes Maes delivered a speech at the Informal AGRIFISH Council in Sofia today. The main focus of the Council was generational renewal in the agricultural sector. Mr Maes called upon the EU’s agriculture Ministers not to ignore the challenges of generational renewal in their respective countries and to use the CAP’s new delivery model to improve the situation of young farmers.

“Existing problems will seriously worsen if generational renewal in agriculture is not boosted in the near future. European farming will lose its current diversity and won’t benefit from the entrepreneurial approach, environmental awareness and innovative attitude that the next generation can bring. Unless concrete action is taken, the consequences of this loss will further damage the social and economic fabric of rural areas,” Mr Maes said.

Guaranteeing food security, reaching climate and environmental targets and stemming the decline of rural areas are challenges that can be solved by enabling more young people to thrive in agriculture. However, a budget that foresees a reduction in CAP funding may lessen farmers’ ambitions.

CEJA believes the future CAP’s budget can be used more effectively by targeting it towards active professional farmers and therefore welcomes the inclusion of some essential criteria in this regard in the recently published CAP legislative proposals.

Young farmers face difficulties ranging from accessing land and a fair income, to a lack of training opportunities. Binding measures, such as start-up aid, advisory services, better risk management tools and training schemes, must therefore be put in place at EU level so that agriculture becomes a viable choice for young people across Europe.

Mr Maes’s full speech can be downloaded here.

ENDS

CEJA represents the political interests of around two million young farmers from across Europe. Its main objectives are to facilitate the installation of young farmers, to inform and to train them as well as act as a forum for communication and dialogue between them.

For further information:

Fiona Lally, Press Officer, Tel: +32 (0)2 230 4210 / E-mail: pressofficer@ceja.eu / Website: www.ceja.eu