DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.com PLC.
Adrian Percy is the head of Research & Development at Bayer Crop Science.
How many teenagers do you know who would list ‘farmer’ as their dream job? Chances are, very few. From Aberdeen to Accra, farming is declining in popularity. Young people are put off by the long hours, low pay, and a perceived lack of opportunities for career growth. Right now, the agriculture sector employs around 40% of the global workforce – rising to 65% across Africa – but most of these farmers are over the age of 50. There are fewer and fewer young people willing to take on the seemingly thankless task of running a farm.
This is a worrying trend, particularly when you consider that the world’s population is set to reach almost 10 billion people by 2050. On top of this, current resources are already under threat from soaring global temperatures and dwindling water supplies – the undeniable effects of climate change. In future, we’re going to have to do more with less.
Within the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN recognises that to tackle world hunger, we need to radically transform how we grow, share and consume our food. To do this, we’ll need a new generation of farmers working on collaborative, technology-driven solutions to an increasingly threatened global food supply.
At the Youth Ag-Summit taking place in Brussels this October, 100 young leaders from within the agricultural sector will get together to debate the challenges and opportunities facing modern farming, and to translate their ideas into action. These delegates are leading a new wave of agricultural advocacy – from driving agricultural training programmes in urban areas, to embarking on social entrepreneurship.