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

RAU, one of the UK’s leading agricultural establishments, hopes the two undergraduate scholarships will increase diversity and equality in an industry made up predominantly of white workers.

Sky News analysis found that 97.2% of agricultural, forestry and fisheries workers are white, excluding seasonal workers, making it the least diverse job sector in the country.

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

He said: “We definitely believe there should be a place for everyone to play their part in agriculture in the land sector.

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

“We are talking about lowering barriers, which can be financial, to attract students to RAU.

“I think we also know, let’s be realistic, that the land sector is a rural sector, and we also know that ethnic minorities are more likely to be in cities, and that also plays a big role.”

There are several obvious reasons why farming is predominantly white.

First, the country’s rural areas are much less diverse.

Second, many farms tended to be passed down from generation to generation.

But there are some who believe that more needs to be done to ensure that ethnic minorities view agriculture as an affordable occupation.

Source: ONS, annual population survey

“We need to break the form”

Pad Asgarian of Feeding Bristol said: “We need to break the form of what is ultimately an old white man and a tractor working in a field, and that’s what a farmer is.

“I think in the field of food and agriculture, in particular, we now have a very multicultural society, and what we need to see is the best variety of products we produce, and these people with skills, knowledge, experience 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 with Muhsen Hassanin, a Muslim who left his life 10 years ago working in marketing in London to buy a farm in the Welsh valleys.

He said: “It’s not something that ethnic people look at because it’s a very, very closed group. Even just going in, say, an auction house – you don’t know what’s going on.”

“I have never seen myself buy land.

“Several years have passed; I have cows, I have goats, geese, ducks, chickens, I farm, it’s farming – so then I called myself a British Muslim farmer. “

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Muhsen Hasanin left his life working in marketing to buy a farm in the depths of the Welsh Valley
Muhsen Hasanin left his life working in marketing to buy a farm in the depths of the Welsh Valley

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

He said: “It’s a pretty closed industry because much of agriculture is family-based. I don’t think there has to be a quota to add to its diversity.”

“I can speak out from my community… they don’t want to do that. They are lawyers, doctors, they have risen in society, why am I going to return to be a peasant? ”

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At the City Farm in Steppe, young people from different backgrounds are given access to farming life.

Hannah Udine told Sky News that she does not view farming as an inclusive profession.

She said: “I think it’s partly because you don’t know that farming is an acceptable profession and you don’t know how to do it. For many people, it’s what people do in their home country.”

“I think it’s very, very driven by whites and I think it needs to change because all professions need to be diverse for all types of races because we are a world of different races so we also need to be diverse in our workplaces . “

Annan Yasin said she would definitely like to work in this field.

She said: “I don’t think I can get into it very easily. Especially at school, I don’t see it very affordable. We always have such master classes for future work and aspirations and I’ve never seen farming or anything. or related to animals ”.

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