Young Women and Agriculture

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Abstract

The ‘young farmers’ EU programme, managed in Greece by the Ministry of Rural Development & Food, aims at improving the age structure in rural areas, attracting young people (up to 40 years old) to agriculture and, finally, retaining young people in rural areas. Within the framework of a wider research project concerning young women farmers in the West Macedonia region, Greece, despite a general trend indicating that young women entered the ‘young farmers’ programme as farm managers, but do not actually overcome the traditional role as farmer wives or daughters, a nucleus of young women active in agriculture and with a positive attitude towards farming is also found. The present study focuses on this latter category of young women. Data were collected through a survey and, primarily, in-depth interviews. Their occupational trajectories since the time they finished school, their entrance into and role in farming, their participation in collective bodies as well as their attitude towards the ‘young farmers’ programme as related to gender, are all presented and discussed. Despite the fact that these women joined the programme due to family strategies (in order not to lose a funding opportunity), they actively seized the opportunity. The present study showed that the ‘young farmers’ programme helped these few women to utilise the incentives in order to become professional farmers.