FOR RURAL YOUTH - FARMERS OF THE FUTURE
DIPLOMA PROGRAM IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
TRIPLE BENEFITS: ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL
Despite the existence of more than sixty Agriculture Universities and thousands of Agriculture colleges and Polytechnics in the country, the educational profile of India’s farmers remains abysmal and alarming. Our farmers are either school or college dropouts, or have barely finished secondary school, or have graduate degrees in disciplines which are wholly unrelated to agriculture.
A critical need of the hour is therefore, a structured program of education that will prepare youth for life in the Agriculture sector. This course would have to equip the learner with all the necessary skills and knowledge for successfully surviving and thriving in the field of Agriculture.
Most importantly, such a program will necessarily have to be based on a sustainable, holistic and long-term view of Agriculture. It is imperative to empower the farmer directly, and real empowerment flows from Knowledge, rather than subsidies and charity. This would be a strategic shift from Ignorance-based to Knowledge-based Agriculture.
Having tested the early versions of this course on the field in the Khandesh, Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of Maharashtra, we are now launching a further refined pilot course for rural youth. This will be a full-time year-long course in Sustainable Agriculture, and it will run in the apprenticeship mode.
This model will be eventually scaled up to hundreds of Learning Centres and that would be the beginning of transformation in Indian Agriculture, as we know it today...
–Steady supply of trained human resource brings sustainability and stability to the dying Agriculture sector
–A strategic shift to sustainable agriculture firmly puts the farmer’s derailed business model on a firm footing. The core of India’s rural economy starts moving towards stability again
–Employment opportunities are created for millions of unemployed and unemployable youth in the nation and abroad. A strong and stable livelihood model will restore financial health at the micro level and revitalize the rural economy
–Huge amounts of fallow lands can be brought under cultivation
–Dignity is restored to the farming profession. Over the next generation or two, farming will no longer be synonymous with hardships, poverty and debt
–Certification will bring recognition of skills and wipe out the stigma of being academic drop-outs
–The farmer’s self esteem improves as he starts to perceive himself as an entrepreneur of the highest order.
–Distress migration and suicides will be history
–A shift to toxin-free sustainable methodologies directly arrests the process of pumping lethally poisonous chemicals into our air, water and soil.
–Appropriate cropping practices have a direct salutary impact on management of critical resources such as electricity and water
–Healthy soils lead to healthy crops, healthy people, healthy society and a healthy economy. Along with tangible economic benefits, numerous non-monetary benefits for the entire human and non-human ecosystem
–Sustainable agriculture practices will greatly improve and accelerate carbon sequestration. Appropriate action for mitigating climate change caused by global warming.