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A Profession in Agriculture- Why Not?

For many years, agriculture has been referred to as an ageing profession with a majority of young people choosing it as the last option. 

Ask any young person in their formative years what they want to be when they grow up and initial answers like doctors, engineers, pilots will most definitely float in the air. This begs the question, is agriculture not a good profession especially given the growing global population that needs to be fed? And what prevents young people from working in Agriculture?

YPARD Switzerland under the leadership of Wyss Rahel and Andre Stucki has taken upon themselves to seek answers to these two questions. In so doing, they have gone to the streets of Zurich and Fribourg and interviewed young people with the aim of unearthing the pros and cons of  agriculture as a profession. To their dismay, they have learnt that the agricultural professions seems to have an image-problem be it poorly paid jobs, long working days and work which is perceived as dirty.

Hans Juger on of the film members

But an interesting twist occurs to this image problem as some young professionals in agriculture draw a completely different picture. Katrin Bürchler, Christian Andres and Markus Hofer are all working in agricultural sector but in very different fields: on a farm, in international agricultural research and in vocational training and advisory services respectively. All of them are fascinated and elated by the possibilities, agriculture offers. In this short movie titled A Profession in Agriculture, young professionals explain their motivation and aims – and why they chose a profession in agriculture.

Markus sees agriculture as the most important job in the whole world , that is, one that is to feed the world. Agriculture is not only important in the provision of nutrients to man, but also plays a key role in landscapes restatement. Growing up in a farm fascinated him and encountering this profession on an everyday basis made hi realise he was cut out to be a farmer.

Katrin believes that the main challenge facing agriculture in Switzerland is farmers don't really know their own value. They would love to be independent but see no way out of the system.

Christian love for international agriculture emanated for helping his mother worked in the family garden. Today, he works in international agricultural research and has no regrets to it.

So, What Prevents Young People From Working in Agriculture?

Views of young people in the streets on agriculture

Through interviews of young passersby, the film reveals the reasons that prevent young people from working in agriculture as thus;

  • The family perception of agriculture as a not enough profession
  • The perceived notion that the conditions in agriculture require more hours and result in less pay,
  • The bad reputation that comes with farming as the status of being a farmer is not so well perceived.
  • Requires a lot of effort 

The Film

The film is 100% financed by The OGG-Foundation (Economic and charitable society of the canton of Bern) follows the OGG core mandate which is to engage in projects bridging rural and urban regions or touching agriculture and the food system in general. As such, the goals of the film includes; 

  • Getting a picture on the public opinion on professional perspectives in agriculture.
  • Showing how the actual motivation of YP’s for their work in agriculture.
  • Provide a tool for class-discussions on the professional perspectives in agriculture on secondary and professional school level.
  •  Provide a basis for discussions within the agricultural sector and among policymakers.

In the coming months, YPARD Switzerland plans to organise several panel discussions on the topic together with agricultural colleges, at sector conferences and in civil society hot-spots.