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Open Letter : Europe Needs More Farmers

16 April 2021

17 April marks the International Day of Peasant Struggles. On this day, we commemorate the massacre of 21 landless peasants in 1996 in Eldorado dos Carajás, Brazil, while demonstrating in support of comprehensive agrarian reform.

This day is important for Europe, where peasant agriculture accounts for the majority of farms and offers fair and sustainable economic models. In the EU, despite the decreasing number of farms and increasing concentration of land in the hands of a few, agriculture remains predominantly small-scale. According to reports published in 2015 and 2016 11,885,000 (97%) farms are smaller than 100 ha1 and 69% are less than 5 ha.2 These small farms, and the people who work on them, are key to the very foundations of all agriculture: the peasant seeds systems from which all seeds were born, the work and conservation of the land so that it is fertile and diverse and the transmission of knowledge that has been successfully feeding the population for thousands of years. A sustainable food system - one that can guarantee healthy food for the whole population, invigorate rural areas, and conserve territorial, biological and cultural diversity - thus needs more farmers.

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