One of the greatest problems that EU Members States are facing is the older age structure of productive occupations. Eurostat data indicate that young farmers under 35 years old account for only 6% of total farm management.
Greece is dealing with an even bigger problem, as only 5.2% are young farmers, while youth unemployment is nearly 50%.
It is, therefore, imperative to renew the generations engaged in farming as a means of reducing unemployment, as well as to develop the sector with young entrepreneurs who will introduce innovation and re-shape production.
Future young farmer programmes and improvement plans must include access to interest-free mortgage loans with support from the European Central Bank (European Investment Bank) for young people seeking to start a business in agriculture (for the purchase of physical capital and land).
Additionally, transfer of knowledge and innovation should be supported through exchange schemes similar to Erasmus.
In view of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding in respect of cooperation in agriculture and rural development’, the Commission is asked:
— Why do young farmers in Greece lack access to interest-free loans and other good practices that young people in other EU Member States have?
— What is the current stage of the exchange programme for farmers?