Do you know what the average age of farmers is?
Farming is a key sector for human life and development. People can leave without electricity, without cars and buses, without Internet and mobile telephones, but people can’t live without food and water.
Behind almost every plate of food is the work of dozens of farmers. To cook a simple dish of pasta with tomatoes and cheese, you need some pasta, prepared of wheat grown by farmers, cheese, made from milk collected and processed by farmers (or plant-based milk grown by farmers), tomatoes, garlic and herbs all grown by farmers. Much of the food we eat is a result of work of a huge number of farmers, growers, agricultural workers, suppliers from different parts of the world.
But the future of farming is not as secured as you might expect. Despite the high importance of food for human lives, this area of business is not very popular with young generation. The world’s farming population is growing older as young people are choosing a city life. According to BBC data, the average age of farmers in the USA is 57, in the UK – 59, in Kenya – 60, in Japan – 67 (the world record). This is a statistical data.
But according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), if not only household heads are taken into account, but all individuals who work on a farm, the average age can go down to 34 years. This data is based on the survey of 767,000 individuals from 13 countries in Africa, but it does not say if these farmers farm as a business or for their own food production.
Anyway, we should focus on making the farming sector more attractive to young people. One of the best ways to achieve this is to bring modern technologies to the remote farms and close the rural-city gap in infrastructure and means. This can help not only to attract younger and educated people to the rural agricultural world, but also improves the farmers’ time management, increases yields, brings access to new markets, overall making farming more profitable, therefore providing a better welfare for farmers and farm workers.
Machinery technology in tractors, harvesters and other machines for field management, milking systems in dairy, robots and drones are supporting farmers daily. The development of satellite technologies allows to use drones and tools with sensors for observing and collecting on field data. And implementation of such modern technologies makes this sphere more and more promising and attractive for younger generation. That’s Farmer Charlie’s mission and systems approach, bringing sensors, connectivity and apps to the field.
Millennials are the first generation who have not known a world without computers. And their active participation in agricultural sector will help transform it into a new never-seen before industry with vertical farming, artificial intelligence, drones and sensors. And to make this process smoother, we should not wait until we face the challenge of retirement of an
experienced generation, but implement modern technologies into farming involving new knowledge and young people right now.
The future starts now!