Women, armed with fancy degrees at that, are the least likely participants in a training programme for dairy farming. Or so you thought!
Five young women have enrolled for the two-week programme of the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University's (GADVASU).
The goal is to take up the family business, and thus prove that sons are not the automatic heirs, in a state shamed by widespread female foeticide.
"I and my sister have decided to join the dairy farming training course because after completing our graduation, we did not get the job that we would have liked. So we thought that training in a vocation will make us worthy of expanding our family trade, and also make us our own boss," said Rajveer Kaur, a resident of Sherpur of Moga district, whose sister Mandeep Kaur is one of her four siblings, all girls.
"Dairy farming is not seen as an educated women's preference, but it gives us an opportunity to be entrepreneurs, like our father," added Mandeep.
Raikot's Rashpal Kaur, who has an MBA, has also joined: "I actually believe dairy is the best profession for educated women. It allows you to stay at home, be your own boss, and it helps that my family is already doing it. I was working with a private company after completing my MBA, but one fine day I figured that dairy farming could fit rather well in my plans."
Dr Harish Verma, head of GADVASU's department of veterinary, animal husbandry and extension education, said, "Dairy farming is all about management, and it's a very good sign that of the 50 participants, five are well-educated women."
Of the male participants, most are not very highly educated and are farmers looking to merely enhance their knowledge.
The GADVASU management is so enthusiastic about the women joining the course that its has waived their fee. "We just charge them the cost of the tea that we offer. They will not pay the Rs 500 fee," said Dr Verma.
"Besides teaching them basics and giving tips on how to buy milch animals, we will also take the trainees to meet a successful dairy farmer."