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Propelling the voice of youth - Young farmers in Serbia and EU

As the new YPARD Serbia country representative in exploring potentials for partnerships with associations and organizations with similar cause as YPARD’s; making better standing for young farmers, I attended the third International conference on “Young farmers in Serbia and EU” organized by the Serbian association of young farmers.

At the conference Jannes Maes, presidents of the Serbian, Czech, Hungarian and Croatian young’s farmers association and president of CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers) gave a speech in which we all agreed that challenges young farmers face are similar in every country and that the voice of youth in agriculture needs to be heard.

“All young farmers across Europe need to see that you do have your voice and it can be heard through your organizations to change the politics. This also means that all the challenges you come across in order to develop farming, invest in farming, or buying agricultural land are challenges that you need to demand your government to provide the solution”, said Jannes Maes, president of CEJA.

This is exactly one of YPARD’s strategic objectives; to broaden opportunities for young professionals to contribute to strategic agricultural development policy debates. As the country representative of Serbia, trough public stories on agricultural websites and blogs I’m trying to make young farmers and their problems more visible for authorities. With promoting youth in agriculture and their needs, with the final goal to make the positions of youth in agriculture less difficult.

Maes also said that ‘young in agriculture are flexible as entrepreneurs, but more affected by risks, with the market going up and down’. The access to market is one of the biggest problems for young farmers in Serbia, also in other countries in Europe. To solve that, the Croatian association of young farmers was organized in 2013. The manifestation of winter stores and young farmers, to promote products of young farmers in Croatia has also been carried out.

“We made the label ‘product of young farmer’ which is recognizable for customers. Also, we are working on education of young farmers in order to adapt their production to market needs”, said Vedran Maric, president of Croatian association of young farmers.

With an idea of ‘product of young farmers’ Serbian association will also begin to make market more available for Serbian young farmers. This can be a great project in which I am planning to take part in as YPARD country representative in Serbia. In that case, my future plans are to make partnership with Serbian and other associations of young farmers which have similar goals.

At the conference, presidents of Young farmers associations spoke about other challenges young farmers face as well as how much promoting agriculture and youth in agriculture is important. That’s why my first steps are in direction of media stories promotion.

Picture credit: Julijana Kuzmic