Ageing farmers could threaten global agriculture’s ability to produce the food the world needs, Group of Seven ministers agreed.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told ministers attending a G7 meeting in Japan that farming’s ageing profile may slow adoption of new food technologies.
The ministers agreed to promote innovation and investment in the sector, whose two key challenges are an ageing workforce and bad weather.
The meeting was also attended by agriculture ministers from Germany, Italy and Canada and representatives from UK and France.
“We have so much more in common than we have in differences,” Mr Vilsack told Bloomberg reporters.
“In this particular meeting, we really focused on those things we have in common.”
The ministers agreed to increase farm opportunities for women and youth; and to boost farm incomes by getting farmers more active in food processing, distribution and service sectors.
The average age of growers in developed countries is about 60.
Japan’s Agriculture Minister Hiroshi Moriyama outlined a plan to replace retiring food growers with autonomous tractors and backpack-mounted robots, as the average age of Japanese farmers reaches 67.
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