More has to be done for young farmers according to new Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan.

Commissioner Hogan was speaking following a European Council meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Brussels yesterday. President of the Council, Italian Minister Maurizio Martina, said he noted large support from his colleagues on a document that he presented for strengthening the policies towards young farmers, in particular on the proposal to overcome the barriers in access to credit, land and knowledge.

These measures, he said, 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 and extraordinary measures.”

The Commissioner concurred, and said that that young farmers are part of the essential structural reforms which are required for the future development of agriculture policy.

“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.

“But we need to do more,” he stressed.

Commissioner Hogan he is looking for support form the European investment bank to achieve certain objectives for young people in the context of the Rural Development Programme to enhance the prospects of young people being involved more and more in agricultural activity and to give the value added that we need in member states.

“We only have so much land. We have to enhance productivity and do that though the young generation in my view.”