Is there a particular generational renewal problem in EU agriculture?

Six years ago, I wrote a post The greying of Europe’s farmers which reviewed the evidence on the ageing of farm operators up to that point in time (the latest data available referred to 2007). The data confirmed that Europe’s farmers were getting older. However, I questioned whether this was evidence of a growing policy problem. Instead, I suggested “that what we observe is a slow upward shift in the age distribution which can be explained by general social trends (longer schooling periods and longer longevity) rather than any specific worsening of the generational transfer problem in agriculture as such.”

The greying of Europe’s farmers continues…

The recent publication by Eurostat of the first results from the 2016 Farm Structure Survey allows us to revisit this issue.

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The CAP and migration

One of the more unexpected sections in the Commission Communication The Future of Food and Farming published in November 2017 was the very final section on Migration. This begins “The future CAP must play a larger role in implementing the outcome of the Valetta (sic) Summit, addressing the root causes of migration.” This is, to my knowledge, the first time that an explicit link has been made between the CAP and migration pressures from countries outside the EU in a Commission publication. For example, in the most recent EU Policy Coherence for Development report from 2015, the section on agricultural policy makes no reference to migration.

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