Thanks to participants for your comments about the involvement of women and youth in agriculture. The discussion has been lively and enlightening to all!
Commentators shared that women in industrialized countries largely face the same discrimination that women in developing countries face in agriculture. In Canada, one participant explained, women often have little control over decisions made about farming and finances, and share concerns over the disconnectedness of rural life. However in the United Kingdom, many women are now heading large agricultural organizations, which give females in farming a more prominent face. Organizations in the U.K., such as the Ladies in Agriculture Club, help to connect female farmers to one another. And in Jamaica, the Network of Rural Women Producers is hosting weekly dinners where female farmers can cook and confer together.
Women’s attitudes towards rural agriculture can influence the attitudes of young people. One participant pointed out, “until women see a better life for their children at home in rural areas they will still give the message – go where the grass is greener.” In countries like Uganda where agriculture is dominated by subsistence farming, youth would rather make quick money than wait for marginal returns on hard labor. Similarly, a participant shared that youth in Mexico get low paying jobs in cities instead of staying on farms because cities are associated with progress. Commentators agreed that work must be done to provide agricultural role models to youth, incorporate agriculture into school curriculums, allow better access to credit, and create special interest farmers organizations that appeal to youth. Moreover, a participant mentioned that since organic agriculture and healthy eating is increasingly trendy among the young urban set, more projects could aim to bring together young consumers with young producers.
Both women and youth often lack access to family decision-making, financial credit, or agricultural training, yet, as one commentator shared, “there is no one-size-fits-all solution” to incorporating these demographics into agriculture. Still, participants highlighted regional organizations like the U.K. Young Farmers Club, The World Farmers Organisation, The Cambodian Farmers Association Federation of Agricultural Producers, and the Future Farmers Network of Australia that are all working to encourage participation in farming.
I appreciate your contributions and thank you again for engaging in the discussion!