Despite predictions that they are destined to disappear, smallholder or family farms still number more than 500 million worldwide, and account for more than 90 percent of all the world’s farm units and 80 percent of the world’s food. However, the world over, smallholder farmer populations are ageing, and many of them have no successor. Some young rural men and women are turning away from farming in favour of more urban livelihoods, but others, who would like to farm, are confronted by the narrowing and sometimes complete closure of access to land, along with other barriers to their entry into farming. This points to the need for attention to the dynamics of intergenerational relations in rural communities.
In this unique exploration of relations between the generations in agrarian societies, Agriculture and the Generation Problem examines the dynamics of the transfer of agrarian resources and opportunities between the generations in rural communities, and argues that we must take generational relations seriously if we are to understand the future of farming and the fate of future generations in rural areas.