Rural youth population decreased in the last years (since 2008) in most EU countries, especially in the East. Rural youth do not perceive agriculture as a remunerative or prestigious profession, and until they find meaningful economic opportunities and attractive environments in rural areas, they will continue to migrate to cities. Agricultural cooperatives have proved to be an effective mechanism for engaging young people in agriculture while increasing youth employment opportunities through on-farm and off-/non-farm activities. Equitable and efficient agricultural cooperatives can play an important role in helping young farmers overcome specific challenges to engage in agriculture, given their very nature: they are owned and run by their members, are built on values that encourage cooperation, empowerment and solidarity, rather than just profits, but also have a strong economic dimension. Agricultural cooperatives represent only a low proportion in the rural economic sector in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia due to communist collectivization past, low social capital and lack of consistent policy support for setting up cooperatives in the transition years.
The goal of the project YOUCooperATE (Youth Cooperation for Agricultural Renewal through Education) is to strengthen the knowledge, understanding and competences for agricultural cooperatives (ACs) development of those 15-17 years old young people in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria Latvia and Italy, who are engaged in agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (T-VET), by modern learning and e-learning techniques, through an information and educational pathway for the development of the agricultural cooperative sector by the next generation of farmers in the respective countries. The objectives of the project are to increase the knowledge and awareness among youth engaged in agricultural T-VET education in each country regarding the cooperative business model and values, to support the acquisition of concrete knowledge for students by fostering the involvement of agri-cooperatives in the project through mentorship, business case simulation programs, hosting study visits, and, to spread good practices and tools relating to cooperative entrepreneurship in agri T-VET schools in the five countries and in non-formal learning settings.
Youth Cooperation for Agricultural Renewal through Education
Grant Agreement (GA) N°SI2.823702
1 March 2020 to 31 August 2021