We need to attract youth in agriculture by providing them lucrative alternatives, said Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR), while inaugurating two-day conference on Motivating and Attracting Youth in Agriculture (MAYA). He urged to create a “Mission for Youth in Agriculture” and “Regional Platform for Youth in Agriculture” with neighbouring countries as partners.
With an expected rise in global population to around 8 billion by 2025 on one hand and the ageing agriculture profession coupled with waning interest of youth on the other, is a serious concern today. In this context, the role of youth in accelerating agricultural growth cannot be underestimated. In fact, those nations have progressed much faster where youth has been motivated and involved in creative, secondary and speciality agriculture – supported well by an enabling policy environment.
India presently has the largest population of youth (356 million between 10-24 years) in the world (UN Report, 2014), even larger than China (269 million). This obviously reflects a bright future provided greater percentage of those living in rural areas (around 200 million), are motivated and attracted professionally to agriculture and allied fields. On the contrary, at present hardly 5 percent of the rural youth is getting engaged in agriculture.
The conference is organised by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), Skill India, Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Dr RS Paroda, Chairman, TAAS urged to mainstream youth in agriculture. He emphasised that youth should to be trained as employer than employment seeker. The farmers in India need one stop solution for all their problems like a multi-speciality hospital.
Dr MS Swaminathan, the father of green revolution in India, addressed online and he said youth have potential to revolutionise agriculture in India.
Dr Ravi Kheterpal, Executive Secretary, APAARI said youth want to get involved in glamorous jobs. If such jobs are created in agriculture, it will bring revolution, he added.
Earlier, Dr AK Singh, DDG (Extension), ICAR, in his welcome address said rural youth is running towards urban areas thereby putting tremendous pressure on the existing urban resources. Therefore, there is a need to create employment opportunities for the youth in rural areas in agriculture.
More than 200 participants including farmers from various states, senior research, development and policy related officials/managers from national and regional organisations, NGOs, the private sector, education and training institutions, and other members of civil society participated to discuss ways to motivate and attract youth in agriculture (MAYA).The regional conference has attracted participants from Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.