In the context of the 4th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), we, the European Coordination Via Campesina, publish the result of a recent study written by Priscilla Claeys and Barbara Van Dyck from Coventry University in collaboration with our Youth Articulation.
Peasant farmers and young agricultural workers represent two sides of the same coin: the failure to provide a decent income for farmers jeopardizes the training of future peasant farmers. Young people work in order to learn, and learn as they are working, even if no formal training is provided. However, the learning process of young agricultural workers takes place in very harsh conditions, including reduced or no payment, and inadequate housing, food and support. These are some of the important limitations that are preventing a socially and ecologically just transformation of the food system.
This report assesses the working and learning conditions of young agricultural workers, defined as people who labour in the fields, mountains and farms and also in the livestock or food processing units and who are younger than 40 years old. The report looks at a wide range of issues including working hours, fees, contracts, negotiation power, food and housing, and gender discrimination, including with regard to intersectionality. Issues such as finding a farm that is best suited for learning, difficulties and dreams for the future are also assessed.
With this report, the authors hope to contribute to the recognition of young agricultural workers’ conditions, and support the political work of ECVC Youth.