Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Why Are So Many Children Dying in Gaza?'

Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

France

French ad campaign tries to make farming hip

Video by Gulliver CRAGG

Text by Gulliver CRAGG

Latest update : 2009-02-24

A punked-out sheep, a shopaholic pig, a hip-hop cow… France’s farmers are desperate to attract new recruits.

Also see Gulliver Cragg's report "World's biggest farming fair opens in Paris" 
and
"Sarkozy honours annual cow-patting tradition"

 

Unemployment in France recently passed the symbolic two million mark. With the global economic crisis biting hard, firms across the spectrum are trying to cut costs and shed workers - except in one domain: agriculture.

 

Despite the soaring unemployment, 21 percent of farmers say they have difficulty finding enough staff. The number rises to 37 percent if you’re talking about qualified staff – but farming is one sector where there are still plenty of unskilled jobs. Four thousand five hundred positions need to be filled each year, that’s without taking into account the estimated 900,000 seasonable jobs the sector offers – or all the opportunities in auxiliary fields, such as the sale and maintenance of farm machinery.

 

So now government and trade unions alike are trying to do something about it. To coincide with the Paris Agriculture Fair, there’s an advertising campaign entitled “Farming: fashionable work” (“L’agriculture: des métiers à la mode”). It features such appealing images as a hip-hop cow, a rocking sheep, and a shopaholic pig. To many, it’s ridiculous. But the FNSEA farming union believes this is just what is needed to help farming shake off its image as being old-fashioned, hard work for dunces.

 

The problem is, says Michel Marquet of ANEFA, the agency for employment and training in agriculture, that farming is hard work. He says recruiting people for seasonable jobs in his orchard is particularly hard. “Picking an apple is always going to be picking an apple”, he concedes, “and when they arrive in early September, sometimes it’s pouring with rain and at other times it’s scorching.” This was a welcome concession – at the recruitment stands at the fair, the standard line is that farming is now a highly skilled, modern profession. Not for everyone! Marquet says the solution, though, is to make sure seasonal work can be a springboard to better things.

 

At the employer end, there’s also a lack of personnel. When French farmers retire or sell up, only half of them manage to pass their farm on as a going, independent concern. The figures are improving though, says Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier, thanks in part to state aid for farming start-ups. We met him at the Young Farmers union stand, under a huge banner saying “Demain je serai paysan!” One is tempted to translate that as “Tomorrow, I shall be a peasant!” though the term doesn’t have negative connotations in French, as it does in English.

 

All the same, it was amusing to see Barnier and then Prime Minister François Fillon trying on the “Tomorrow I shall be a peasant”. I can imagine the pictures will resurface in some satirical journal someday.
 

www.metiersdelagriculture.fr/

Date created : 2009-02-24

COMMENT(S)