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ICAR to focus on retaining rural youth in agriculture

It hopes to offer alternatives to arrest migration to urban areasLarge-scale migration of rural youth from farming to urban areas has caused concern among the country’s agricultural policy makers as such a trend, if not checked, is likely to affect agricultural activities in the future.In a bid to address this trend, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has constituted a seven-member expert committee, headed by University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore Vice-Chancellor and Agricultural Extension expert K. Narayana Gowda, to suggest ways of attracting youth to agriculture. What inspired the ICAR to constitute such a panel was the recent initiative by the UAS-B to encourage youth to take up farming.Dr. Gowda told The Hindu that the committee with a theme — Attracting and Retention of Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) — will come out with region-wise recommendations in November regarding the measures to be taken to attract the youth.He said the recommendations would lead to formulation of a national policy as the ICAR would take up these recommendations before the Planning Commission. He said the committee was not trying to retain all the youth in rural areas. “Our concern is mainly about the school and college dropouts who migrate to cities in search of menial jobs. It has become a social problem as most of these youth find it difficult to sustain their families with the pittance they earn in cities. We want to convince them, through concrete examples, that they can earn much more than they earn in cities if they continue in farming,” he said.The committee will address issues such as providing training on innovative and sustainable agricultural practices to help make agriculture a profitable venture. This would involve a series of activities, including creation of infrastructure facilities in various aspects of farming and providing marketing linkages, and in exploring opportunities in secondary agricultural operations such as value addition of crops and hiring, and servicing of mechanised farm implements, he said.To begin with, the committee is thinking of conducting a sample survey to find out the quantum of migration of rural youth. At present, the indications are that the migration of rural youth to cities is around 45 per cent in the country.He said youth shun agriculture as society looks down upon farming. Families of prospective brides do not prefer farming youth, Dr. Gowda said. The committee would also look into providing social recognition for them.Source: The HinduRead original post on this Link: ICAR to focus on retaining rural youth in agriculture