In order to create interest and confidence among rural youth in agriculture,Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated a program which will be implemented in 25 districts, one each in states, Radha Mohan Singh, Union Agriculture Minister said today.
Opening a seminar on “National Youth Convention on Attracting and Retaining Youths in Agriculture (ARYA)” organised by ICAR in New Delhi, Singh said, “ There is a need to make agriculture more profitable. “Retaining youth in agriculture and making agriculture more profitable are thus, big challenges, he added.
The Minister said that ICAR has initiated a program on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture” and the project shall be implemented in 25 districts (one district from each state) through the KVKs of those districts with technical partners from Institutes of ICAR, Agricultural Universities and others. Each KVK shall involve about 200 youths having less than 35 years of age.
Besides developing entrepreneurship capabilities, as per program, the youth shall be trained on the essential skills as per the requirement of selected enterprises and entrepreneurial units shall be established at their location within the selected district.
Government of India has made B.Sc. Agriculture as mandatory qualification requirement to get license for sale of agriculture inputs like seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. This will create several thousand jobs for agriculture graduates in the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, in association with NABARD is implementing Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centres (ACABC) Scheme, a unique programme to take better methods of farming to each and every farmer across the country and create employment opportunity for agricultural graduates.
“Start-up India, Stand-up India initiative the government will boost entrepreneurship among the youth, create new job opportunities and help set up a network of start-ups in the country,” Singh said.
There is success stories emerging in farm sector in enterprises like honey production, dairy and fisheries in states like Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. However, these farmers are crorepathis involving in agri-businesses. “We need to replicate the successful experiences in other states, for less endowed farmers and youths which needs considerable efforts for skilling and other entrepreneurial support,” the Minister said.
To promote agri-business and attracting youth farmers therein, government of India is promoting formation of Farmers Producing Organizations (FPOs) and capacity building and financial assistance are provided, he added.
Generally, youth are willing to adopt new ideas and technologies and therefore agricultural extension need to focus on youth to transform agriculture. The youth could be the ideal catalyst to change the poor image of persons involved in agriculture, especially in the rural communities given their greater possibility to adapt new ideas, concept and technology which are all important to changing the way agriculture is practiced and perceived. “Improving their capacities and increasing their involvement will also help in changing the negative perception about farming, the Minister emphasised.