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Consultas electrónicas abiertas del HLPE

Re: Promoting youth engagement and employment in agriculture and food systems - HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the report

John Weatherhogg
John WeatherhoggItaly

In all societies adolescence is a time of revolt or breaking away. In closed, rural, restrictive communities young people may find life claustrophobic and wish only to escape the monotonous round of manual labour. Agriculture and fishery training schools with courses for farmers’ and fishermens’ sons often serve only to increase the rate of loss of youth to the cities. Any certificate produced by the school is a passport to a job in the city.

As a result of the drift of youth out of agriculture/fishing there is a shortage of labour and a requirement for increased mechanisation. This requirement could be met by youth operating as contractors. Youngsters have huge energy and enthusiasm and are generally prepared to work longer hours than older colleagues already with families.

In my experience training schools just take their student to the end of the course and then they are supposed to return to the land – whilst in all probably they in fact disappear to the city. Why could not the training schools have an agreement with a credit institution to provide machinery on hire-purchase terms to successful graduates recommended by the school?

That way the youngster would be provided with an interesting and rewarding job and would be able to provide contract services within his area.

Regrettably I have never such a scheme operating, but in England over 40 years ago I saw a 19 year-old energetically providing contract services with a massive John Deere tandem tractor and plough, all of which he had on hire-purchase.

Such a scheme would have not only benefits to the youth involved but the provision of mechanised services at economic cost to the rural community and should prove attractive to donors.