23 June 2000
Europe’s children ignorant on farming

By FWi staff

LACK of agricultural knowledge among children is a European and not just a UK phenomenon, according to new research.

A new survey published by the European Council for Young Farmers (CEJA) has revealed significant gaps in childrens knowledge of agriculture and the food chain right across Europe.

One out of four 9-10-year-olds surveyed in the UK and the Netherlands believed that oranges and olives grow in their country.

And more than a quarter of the 2400 children questioned thought that cotton grows on sheep.

The survey also discovered that children have difficulties making the connection between basic products and their final form after transformation.

Some 50% of EU children do not know where sugar comes from.

Researchers also found that 17% of British children think bananas grow in the UK.

Commenting on the report, BBC TV presenter John Craven said: “We must all work to give children every chance to learn more about agriculture, and to visit farms.”

“As this survey demonstrates, children across Europe are interested to know more about food production and farming.”

CEJA spokesman, John Lee said: “One lesson of the survey is that children are keen to know more about life in the countryside and how food is produced.”

To help children better understand, CEJA is developing an educational programme that will be made available to schools in 2000.

“The programme will sensitise children and their other European peers to the origins of food and non-food agricultural products and all farming and agri-food activities.”