A meeting of the AGRI Committee took place on Thursday,
5 December 2019 with Norbert Lins (EPP, DE) in the Chair.
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/2r19bb7
Point 10 was dedicated to the presentation of the study requested by the AGRI Committee and commissioned and managed by Policy Department B on “The EU farm employment: current challenges and future prospects”. It was realized by four research bodies: OIR GmbH (from Austria) as research leader; Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) – University of Gloucestershire (from UK); Red2Red Consulting (from Spain); and University of Tuscia (from Italy). The study was presented by Ms Ambre Maucorps and Mr Bernd Schuh (OIR GmbH).
The presentation begun by outlining the main trends and features of the EU agricultural labour force (impressive 30% decrease in the last fifteen years; rise of the number of large farms; consolidation of temporary farming labour). The key drivers of these structural changes would be the technological progress (intensification and mechanisation reducing the human labour), the attractiveness gap between agriculture and other sectors; and a low generational renewal rate. The speakers also: presented the main microeconomic strategies (pluriactivity and diversification) implemented by EU farms; explained the (mixed) impact of the CAP on agricultural and rural jobs; and developed the policy recommendations of the study. As conclusion, the 2021/2027 CAP could be pay greater attention to:
– Generational renewal
. Facilitating generational farms transfers by creating favourable conditions for ageing farmers to retire;
– Quality of rural employment
. Investing in diversification and adding value to farming;
. Increasing the variety of farming and farming-related roles (e.g. social farming, health therapy, education, energy, etc.);
– Status and wages of farm workers
. Improving the status and wages of farm workers through: adding value and increasing farm sector resilience; training and education helping farmers to take up technological innovation; etc;
– Labour and social conditions
. Bolstering the integration of seasonal and migrant workers into the local communities (based on a proper implementation of Directive 2014/36/EU);
. Implementing social conditionality of direct payments linked to the quality of labour conditions, health and safety standards, and compliance with Directive 91/533/EEC;
– CAP tailored to regional needs
. Offering more flexibility to fine-tune CAP pillar 1 and tailoring rural development support under Pillar 2;
– Common vision and clear objectives with regard to farming employment
. Across the two pillars of the CAP;
. Across the different policies and programmes of the EU;
. Across the strategies of the EU and Member States
During the Questions & Answers session, MEPs inquired in particular on the possible reasons explaining the different structural pathways of the agricultural labour force across EU countries and regions. Among the many issues raised by the study, questions focused in particular on the role of CAP in order to develop farm employment and how to encourage younger generations to remain in the sector as well as to support new entrants. While most Members were supportive of the approach adopted by the study and were thankful for the data provided, some interventions regretted the regional case studies approach (focused on eight countries) and pointed to the need to carry out new studies on the farming employment issues at EU level.
Further reading: Research for AGRI Committee: The EU farming employment: current challenges and future prospects
Watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):