6.2.2 Phasing Out Agriculture

In former times, one could take for granted that a farmer's son would take up farming and follow his father's profession. This is no longer the case. The reduction in farm sizes, non­agricultural development, the new alternatives for those seeking jobs, and the experience showing that, often, non-agricultural activities supply a higher income than small-scale farming have brought about a change. In general, the young people are sceptical as far as the future of small-scale agriculture is concerned and they are reluctant to continue farming. Most young men from small holdings envisage their future outside agriculture. Some of them may change their mind, while others will have to stay on the farm because they cannot find a suitable non­agricultural job

A generation ago, while the cry was 'access to land' at the time of the land-to-the-tiller reforms, today, the young people want 'access to income, wherever it may come from. If land is available in a sufficient amount, irrigation reliable, and access to markets is assured, they are willing to engage in farming along modern lines. If this is not the case and cannot be realized, their preference goes to a non-agricultural life. This varies greatly from region to region. Usually, whenever some change their life style in a village, other will follow without much hesitation. The situation should be carefully assessed in order to avoid activities and investments which are not in line with the future generation's outlook and which might turn out to be useless after a few years.

One of the measures required is the organization of a land market to enable a smooth transfer of ownership and usufruct rights according to the owners' preference.