Encouraging Young Farmers

YERUSHALAYIM -

A fresh campaign to promote Israeli agriculture by encouraging young people to work on the farm was launched on Monday by the new Knesset agricultural caucus, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“We will push the state to invest in and provide incentives for young farmers,” said its chairman, MK Zvulun Kalfa (Jewish Home). “We must take care of protecting generational continuity in Israeli agriculture.”

The caucus plans to back legislation to preserve agriculture and rural spaces, and to try to  increase the number of entering the field through an integrated national plan, its leaders say.

Led by Kalfa, MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) and MK Yitzchak Vaknin (Shas), the opening session of the caucus was also attended by Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel and other MKs, mayors and heads of regional groups.

“The threat to the Israeli agricultural world is an existential one,” said Kalfa, who grew up on Moshav Sharsheret and was in the citrus business.

“The average age of those engaging in agriculture is 60, and the young people rarely work in the field,” he added.

“Unless we act soon, we will lose the experience and knowledge accumulated by veteran farmers for decades.”