FARM VET and co-founder of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS), Dr Navaratnam Partheeban OBE, has published his Nuffield Farming report entitled, ‘Encouraging and Supporting Black and People of Colour in Agriculture’.
The report, which was sponsored by McDonald’s UK and Ireland, is now available from the Nuffield Farming report library (see below).
During his Scholarship, Dr Navaratnam travelled extensively throughout the UK before visiting the USA. Visits included museums, speaking to farmers, ranchers, cowboys, growers, vets and educators as well as exploring other sectors such as baseball and the military.
Dr Navaratnam said, “The agricultural sector is the least diverse sector in the UK, especially when it comes to people who identify as Black or a Person of Colour (BPOC). The belief that BPOC people do not want to work in agriculture is false. We are not attracting a large population of the public and, wanting people to support us and join us, means we must represent them more.”
During his study, Dr Navaratnam aimed to understand the barriers and create solutions to encourage BPOC people to enter and thrive in the UK agricultural sector.
He said, “Creating equity and inclusion is crucial. Equity means creating a more level playing field and inclusion is making people feel like they belong. Acknowledging and accepting the past, creating positive opportunities for marginalised people, platforming and promoting BPOC people, and creating support networks and systems to help BPOC people be an equal part of the sector is key to making any programme a success.
“By increasing the diversity of people in our sector and inspiring the next generation, we will help create ideas, innovation and talent plus making the sector more representative of the country we serve. To achieve this, we need to start investing more time, money and effort into working for positive change.”
The Nuffield study aimed to learn about the barriers to Black and People of Colour (BPOC) in agriculture, to engage with individuals working in the agricultural sector from BPOC backgrounds, to improve understanding on leadership and social change, and to build a network of like-minded individuals working for equity and diversity in agriculture.
The study concludes that if we want to create a sector that is diverse, equitable and inclusive for Black and People of Colour, we must work to:
- Learn about the history and culture of Black and People of Colour in the UK
- Communicate and engage with Black and People of Colour
- Understand one’s own biases and barriers
- Work to become a positive ally
- Organisations need to look in before looking out