RURALIZATION conference in Romania on rural generational renewal and their environment for dialogue and ensuring access to land for new generations

On the 14th of November 2020, Eco Ruralis Association organized its first national conference within the RURALIZATION project.

Held with the occasion of the Eco Ruralis’ National Annual General Assembly of Small-Scale Farmers and Supporters of Agroecological Agriculture (13th – 14th of November), the conference engaged a total of 35 participants from various areas in Romania – from young new-entrants in agriculture, or experienced farmers, to urban youth in transition to rural areas and representatives of local civil society organizations.

Based on the presentation of the Ruralization project, its consortium, aims and main activities to be carried out through its implementation, the participants were showcased some of the work conducted this year and debated the main topics of Rural generational renewal and their environment for dialogue and Ensuring access to land for new generations, of high relevance for the ones present and in the national socio-economical and political context.

When presented the report on the typology of innovative practices on access to land and engagement of stakeholders with regards to the inventory analysis, the participants agreed that generational renewal is a complex process that has to be understood and acted upon from different angles in order to realize a successful renewal. As new-entrants in agriculture, the young farmers present shared with their more established colleagues the challenges they have met when accessing land, the hardships encountered in establishing a new farm through agroecological innovative practices and the ability to start producing food and start having an income from it. Land grabbing, land concentration and the high speculative prices of land, the lack of transparency in land registries, the lack of financial support and community support and access to market in more remote areas of Romania had been among the challenges they brought into discussion, as well as a lot of knowledge and ideas accumulated throughout their experience that could be facilitated to other young farmers, rural communities and local authorities.

Corroborated with the presentation on the preliminary work conducted for the foresight analysis and the national surveying of youth future rural dreams, intense discussions revealed that numerous obstacles in realising youth dreams have been encountered by previous generations too and that some challenges are structural, in strong dependence with a vision that has to be changed through both effective practical actions and the improvement of public policies. Some of the practical innovative examples had been well-received by the participants and stimulated inspiration, while others emphasized on the national obstacles before upscaling them. Also, some needs for public policies have been expressed, such as support for small-scale agroecological farming and stopping land grabbing, recognition of the natural, economical and social value of small-scale farming, active support throughout the entire chain, more transparency at local level and the involvement of public authorities in support of local communities.

The session ended with a short presentation of the future activities and deliverables of the Ruralization project and a call to join our communication channels to remain up-to-date with its outcomes.

Raluca Dan

Eco Ruralis team