Why farming in the UK is predominantly white – and what is being done to increase diversity | UK News

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is launching a new scholarship scheme to encourage more British ethnic minority students to enter the agricultural sector.

The RAU, one of the UK’s leading farming institutions, hopes the two undergraduate scholarships will increase diversity and equality in the industry, which is predominantly made up of white workers.

An analysis by Sky News found that 97.2% of workers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries are white, excluding seasonal workers, making them the least diverse occupational sector in the country.

Dan Todhunter, director of academic services at RAU, told Sky News that increasing diversity in education could break down barriers.

He said: “We definitely think there must be space for everyone to get involved in farming in the land-based sector.

“If we can educate more people, educate more people from a wider range of backgrounds, there will be more people available in the future who have the skills and qualifications and interests to make a difference in this sector and in these jobs.

“It’s about breaking down barriers, which can also be financial barriers, to bring students to the RAU.

“I think we also know, let’s be realistic, that the land-based sector is a rural sector and we also know at the national level that ethnic minorities are more likely to live in urban areas and that plays a big part as well.”

There are some obvious reasons why agriculture is predominantly white.

First, the rural parts of the country are far less diverse.

Second, many farms have typically been passed down through generations.

However, some believe that more should be done to ensure that people belonging to ethnic minorities see farming as an accessible profession.

Source: ONS Annual Population Survey

“We have to break the mold”

Ped Asgarian, from the organization Feeding Bristol, said: “We have to break with the mold that at the end of the day it’s an old white man and a tractor working the field and that’s what a farmer is.

“I think especially in food and agriculture we now have a very multicultural society and what we need to see is more diversity in the food we produce and in the people with the skills, the knowledge, the expertise and many migrants, refugees, second generation as well as first generation.

“These skills will be lost if they are not invested in our food and agriculture sector.”

“I called myself a British Muslim farmer”

Sky News spoke to Muhsen Hassanin, a Muslim who gave up his life in marketing in London 10 years ago to buy a farm deep in the Welsh Dales.

He said: “It’s not really something that people of ethnic background look at because it’s a very, very closed group. Even if you just go to the auction house, for example, you don’t know what’s going on.

“I never saw myself as someone who bought land.

“A few years later it just went down; I have cows, I have goats, geese, ducks, chickens, I farm, that’s farming – so at that point I called myself a British Muslim farmer. “

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Muhsen Hassanin gave up his life in marketing to buy a farm deep in the Welsh Dales
Muhsen Hassanin gave up his life in marketing to buy a farm deep in the Welsh Dales

Mr Hassanin supports RAU’s decision to increase diversity at university level but says there should be no quotas.

He said: “It’s a pretty closed industry because a lot of farming is family-based. I don’t think there should be a quota to bring in diversity.

“I can speak for my community … they don’t want to do it. They are lawyers, doctors, they have risen in society, why will I go back to be a farmer?”

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At City Farm in Stepney, young people from all walks of life are given access to farm life.

Hannah Uddin told Sky News she doesn’t see farming as an inclusive profession.

She said: “I think part of it has to do with not knowing that farming is an acceptable profession and not knowing how to do it. For many people it is what people do in their home country.

“I think it’s very, very white run and I think that needs to change as all jobs need to be diverse between all kinds of races because we are a multiracial world so we should be diverse in our workplaces too be. “

Anan Yasin said she would definitely like to work in the industry.

She said: “I don’t think I could get in very easily. Especially in school I don’t see it as very accessible. We always have these workshops for future jobs and endeavors, and I’ve never seen farming or anything animal related.”

Why farming in the UK is predominantly white – and what is being done to increase diversity | UK News

Source link Why farming in the UK is predominantly white – and what is being done to increase diversity | UK News

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