How India can create opportunities for its new era farmers

  • India’s agricultural industry has long been neglected.
  • According to the World Bank, agricultural workers in the total labor force will drop from 58.2% in 2001 to 25.7% by 2050.
  • Ravi Annavarapu, chairman of agricultural science company Food Machinery Corporation (FCM) India tells Business Insider how to make farming a more lucrative business opportunity for India’s youth.

The number of agricultural workers is declining in India; and is expected to fall further to 25.7% by 2050. And it was 58% in 2001.

On the other hand, the number of agritech startups is increasing. There were around 450 agritech startups in India before the pandemic, growing 25% year-on-year, according to a NASSCOM report. Agriculture, like many other sectors, is about to be disrupted by technology.

“Advanced technology and precision agriculture have the potential to take India’s agri-economy to new heights. The agricultural sector in India is expected to generate better momentum in the coming years due to increased investment in agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, warehousing and cold storage,” said Ravi Annavarapu, Chairman of the company. of Agricultural Sciences Food Machinery Corporation (FMC) India.

This means that the young, technology-friendly generation would participate much more in new-age agriculture than the older generation. It will also create job opportunities in rural areas.

“With the government’s renewed focus on eliminating inefficiencies in the sector, new avenues are opening up for young people, in terms of R&D, agritech, start-up culture and food processing,” Annavarapu said.

Agriculture contributes about 20% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP), but the sector continues to lag behind the Indian economy. The country’s progress depends on the growth and sustainability of this sector.

Despite pandemic and climate change risks, growth in the agriculture and related sector increased to 3.9% in 2021-22 from 3.6% a year earlier, leading to real GDP growth in the region. overall Indian economy by 9.2% in FY22, according to Economic Survey 2021. -22.

“The pandemic has been a blessing in disguise as digital technology and innovative solutions have been embraced, giving rise to agritech models. New technological business models, such as e-commerce platforms, are undoubtedly helping smallholder farmers increase their income by connecting them directly to customers. This practice also gives birth to sustainable agriculture,” Annavarapu said.

Make agriculture attractive

Agriculture, however, has yet to catch the attention of young people. The high risks and low returns, coupled with the continued fragmentation of land holdings, are becoming a big mental block for rural youth.

“The most important way to attract young people into agriculture is to showcase the country’s huge reach, growth opportunities, resource-rich terrain, and involvement of modern roles (research and development , technology, farmer training, etc.),” Annavarapu said.

Agriculture should be taught early in school, he said, welcoming the government’s efforts to include agriculture at school level under the new education policy.

“The focus should be on changing the narrative – from farming being a rural-centric occupation to a broader picture, which educates them on the range of opportunities present in the industry and its importance in the nation-building,” Annavarapu said.


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