Attracting and retaining youth in farming is the greatest challenge facing Indian agriculture today. The diminishing contribution to GDP of the farm sector is accompanied by an increasing responsibility for employment. Our population is young and India will be the youngest nation by 2020.
Although the contribution of agriculture and allied sectors has come down to 13.9 % of GDP at 2004-05 prices as compared to 14.5% last year, agriculture continues to be the primary employment providing sector in rural India. As per NSSO reports, for every 1000 people employed, over 750 persons are employed in agriculture sector both in rural and urban areas.
With the enactment of a Food Security Bill, attention to increasing the productivity, profitability and sustainability of small-farm agriculture has become even more urgent. We cannot implement a Food Security Bill based on imported food grains. Therefore, steps will have to be taken to create interest among educated young women and men in rural areas for taking to agriculture as a profession.
If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in our country.
Renowned agricultural scientist and the father of India’s Green Revolution