Younger farmers with a dash of flair are needed to make agriculture more dynamic, says the Growing Forward report on ways to boost food production on St Helena.
And they need to be willing to take risks, it says.
It calls for apprenticeships and placements to allow them to learn alongside the older people who make up the bulk of producers – at the same time as learning progressive techniques.
Strategies include co-ordinating training, and promoting the career through the Traditional Industries Campaign launched in 2012.
Government staff also need training to provide better support, says the draft agriculture policy document.
“The majority of the current smallholders and full-time producers are older persons, and younger entrants to the sector are critical to providing a more commercially organised and risk-taking outlook,” the paper says.
“There is also a shortage of both general and suitably skilled labour to support larger-scale production.
“A lack of knowledge-sharing amongst producers has resulted in a culture of working in isolation and weakened farmer representation, which limits the competitiveness of the sector through frequent periods of shortages and gluts.”
There have been complaints in 2013 that farmers would have to destroy freshly harvested crops because of over-production, with no scope to sell to markets off the island.