Icelandic farmers are more challenged than before .The icelandic farmers are now face new challenges with the opening of the free market .Here are some farmers and how the new changes affects them :
Jóhannes explains that such work goes together with sheep farming as these months are usually quiet. The sheep are kept inside and have to be fed, but even with maintenance of machines, farmhouses and fences, that’s not full-time work.
He’s not the only one critical of the system. “Controlled production was relevant at the time—we were looking at mountains of meat and butter—but it has become obsolete and a hindrance,” states Ástvaldur Lárusson, vice-chair of the Icelandic Association of Young Farmers, which is independent of the Farmers Association.
For centuries Iceland’s main industries were fishing, fish processing and agriculture. In the 19th century, 70–80% of Icelanders lived by farming, but there has been a steady decline over the years and now that figure is less than 5% of the total population. It is expected that the number will continue to fall in the future. Only 1% of the total land area (of 100,000 km2) is under arable cultivation, confined almost exclusively to the peripheral lowland areas of the country.
“Our neighboring countries support farming too, although it may have a different form. We must keep in mind that for every job in agriculture, there are three to four related jobs. If we want to keep the countryside populated, sheep farming is the cheapest way to maintain production, employing many others in servicing, processing and handling of the product. If sheep farming was abolished, the towns would collapse too.
“I hope that the new agreements will be modernized, but the older generation is too comfortable. The system wraps them up in cotton wool and prevents progress, neither benefiting farmers nor consumers.”
There are around 4,200 registered farms in Iceland, of which 3,200 are active in agriculture. People employed in the industry number 4,800, which is 2.9 percent of the labor force. Overall, 11,000 jobs in Iceland are connected to farming in one way or another, such as in the dairy industry and service sectors.
Each accommodation has its own character but all share an emphasis on personal service in tranquil countryside locations. Categories range from simple yet comfortable rooms with shared bathrooms to more elaborate rooms with private bathrooms. Local food is often available, also activities such as horse riding tours, guided walks or a chance to take part in farm activities.
Not only the ESA has criticized this reasoning; the measure is heatedly debated in Iceland. “It sounds like scare tactics,” says Ástvaldur, who believes it’s only a matter of time before freer import of agricultural products will be permitted and that Icelandic farmers must be better prepared to handle the competition.