Why UK farming 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 UK students from ethnic minorities to enter the agricultural sector.
The RAU, one of the UK’s leading agricultural institutions, hopes the two undergraduate scholarships will increase diversity and equality in the industry – which is predominantly made up of white workers.
A Sky News analysis found that 97.2% of workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing are white, excluding seasonal workers, making it the least diverse employment sector in the world. country.
Dan Todhunter, director of academic services at the RAU, told Sky News that increasing diversity in education could reduce barriers.
He said: “We really believe there needs to be room for everyone to play a role in agriculture in the land sector.
“If we can educate more people, train more people from more diverse backgrounds, then there will be more people available in the future who have the skills, qualifications and interests to make a difference in this industry. and these jobs.
“It’s about reducing barriers, which could also be financial barriers, to getting students into the UAR.
“I think we also know, let’s be real, that the land sector is a rural sector, and we also know nationally that ethnic minorities are more often in urban areas and that also plays a big part.”
There are obvious reasons why agriculture is predominantly white.
First, rural parts of the country are much less diverse.
Second, many farms tend to have been passed down from generation to generation.
But some believe more should be done to ensure that members of ethnic minorities see farming as an accessible job.
“We have to break the mould”
Ped Asgarian, of organization Feeding Bristol, said: “We have to break the mold by finally being an old white man and a tractor working in the field and that’s what a farmer is.
“I think in food and agriculture in particular, we now have a very multicultural society, and what we need to see is more diversity in the food we produce and those people with the skills, the knowledge, expertise and many migrants, refugees, second generation as well as first generation.
“These skills are lost if they are not invested in our food and agricultural sector.”
“I called myself a British Muslim Farmer”
Sky News spoke to Muhsen Hassanin, a Muslim who 10 years ago left his life working in marketing in London to buy a farm deep in the Welsh valleys.
He said: “It’s not really something that ethnic people watch because it’s a very, very closed group. Even going to the auction house, for example, you don’t know not what is happening.
“I never saw myself as someone who had bought land.
“It just fell a few years later; I have cows, I have goats, geese, ducks, chickens, I farm, it’s farming – it’s that time I called myself a British Muslim farmer at that time.”
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Mr Hassanin supports the 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-run. I don’t think there should be a quota to put diversity into it.
“I can speak on behalf of my community… they don’t want to. They are lawyers, doctors, they have progressed in society, why am I going to be a peasant again?”
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Hannah Uddin told Sky News she does not 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 get into it. For a lot of people, that’s what people do in their country of origin.
“I think it’s very, very white and I think that needs to change because all professions need to be diverse across all race types because we’re a world of different races so we should also be diverse in our places of work.”
Anan Yasin said she would really like to work in the industry.
She said: “I don’t think I could get in very easily. Especially at school, I don’t see it very accessible. We always have these workshops for future careers and aspirations, and I’ve never seen the ‘agriculture or anything to do with animals.’