Among a range of measures currently being discussed at EU level to support young farmers is a proposal allow zero interest rate loans for land acquisitions according to a Department of Agriculture Spokesperson.

At last month’s Agriculture Council meeting the current Council President Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said that there was support from his colleagues on the document that he presented for strengthening the EU policies towards young farmers, in particular on the proposal to overcome the barriers to access credit, land and knowledge.

“These measures are essential to support the work of young farmers and to provide a future for European agriculture. I am satisfied that the other member states have realised that youth unemployment must be tackled fielding urgent measures,” he said following the meeting.

It has emerged that among the suite of measures proposed is a proposal to allow zero interest rate loans for land acquisitions.

Agriland understands the proposal has support in some Member States, is currently being discussed at special committee level in Europe and will come before the Agriculture Council again at its next meeting.

New Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan has also said recently that more has to be done for young farmers.

“If we don’t have highly-educated, strongly motivated people in the agricultural community in the future we will not be able to get enhanced productivity better knowledge transfer and innovation from people of a younger generation and help them to stay involved and interested in agriculture activities,” he said.

He noted that the Common Agricultural Policy has already given incentives in the new policy including a 25% increase in top up and additional support for businesses. However, he stressed we need to do more.