In an environment of easy accessibility and improving technology in agriculture, a top scientist in the field has said that there is a need to change the perception that farming is a low-skilled, loss-making avocation in order to encourage the Indian youth to join the sector.
In a interview with HT here on Tuesday, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) director general and department of agricultural research and education (DARE) secretary Dr S Ayyappan, said that agriculture was the only flourishing sector growing at a rate of more than 4% despite the present economic conditions.
"Farming, in the present scenario, is highly skilled profession which assures economic stability to the investors by the means of diversification," said the expert. Agricultural innovations, he said, are attracting people from various non-allied sectors and various central and state government agencies are now encouraging the youth to join the research conducted in the sector and to adopt new-age profit making farming.
Recently, software professionals in Bengaluru and Himachal Pradesh switched over the highly lucrative horticulture farming practiced in the polyhouses. "There is a change in the agricultural trends in almost every state where youngsters now make the best use of easily the latest technology and expertise for remunerative farming. But there is a need to highlight such success stories to motivate the youth," said Ayyappan, who was at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) to deliver a lecture at Dr S Sundaresan Memorial Lecture.
Ayyappan, however, admitted that there were several pitfalls related to storage and marketing in the existing system which were being looked into various agencies. "India has the largest population of youngsters. If this potential is tapped in a planned manner we can surpass any thriving economy of the world, including China, the most populated country in the world. Central project like National Agricultural Innovative Programme (NAIP) have encouraged the illiterate and educated alike to give a shape to their new ideas, which can benefit the farmers," he said.
The last two years has seen nearly 50 Indian research professionals working abroad joining various Indian agriculture research institutes. "They do not regret their decision of coming back to the country. This is an encouraging sign for the future of the sector, when the emphasis will be on research projects," he said.