The potentials, limits and challenges of multifunctional agriculture were discussed at the SEMA II final conference in Brussels on September 17, 2019. It became clear that multifunctional farms offer young farmers new perspectives in and beyond agriculture. In a panel discussion, Dr Ulrich Gehrlein (IfLS) explained that farmers can expand their activities into other business areas if they make better use of existing resources such as machinery or buildings and open up new sources of income.
At the same time, it was shown that the range of possibilities presents new challenges - such as the development of a multifunctional approach that exploits business potential and promises economic success. Jannes Maes, Chairman of the Council of European Young Farmers (Conseil Européen des Jeunes Agriculteurs - CEJA), stresses that young farmers need to know how to successfully diversify their farms.
Christoph Mathias (IfLS) presented the training and learning opportunities offered by the SEMA projects, which are intended to reduce the aforementioned knowledge gap. Within the framework of SEMA II, for example, video clips with expert interviews and examples of multifunctional enterprises were produced, which are intended to inspire and strengthen the development of multifunctional enterprises. The materials can be downloaded free of charge from www.sema-project.eu and www.sema2.eu.
The final conference was attended by about 50 young European farmers and some representatives from the EU administration, the Flemish administration and European consulting and research institutions.
Contact at IfLS: Dr. Ulrich Gehrlein (gehrlein[at]ifls.de) and Christoph Mathias (mathias[at]ifls.de)