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Youth and Agripreneurship in North East Region of India

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Dr. Narmada Hidangmayum
In National Youth Policy 2014, Youth is defined as a person between the age group of 15-29 years. In our country youth comprises of 27.50 per cent of the population. As per demographic data we can proudly said that our country is going to be the 4th largest economy by 2025 which will contribute 5.5-6.0 per cent of the world only after US, China and Japan. India is expected to have a favorable demographic profile while other countries will face the risk of ageing workforce in the near future. This human resource can be tapped for the new agriculturally vibrant and self reliant of the nation.
The North Eastern states of India which earlier used to be considered as economically backward, however share an international borders of 5182 km with so many countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Nepal and Bhutan. Deka (2019) said that the number of job seekers in the age group of 15-29 is about 21.03 lakh in Northeastern states give immense opportunity for Agripreneurship especially on export and import business for the youths with the coming of Look East Policy which the present NDA government had given even more greater thrust and rename it as Act East Policy.
Unemployment is a real problem among the youths in the North Eastern Region of the country. Lack of employment opportunities has been a challenge faced by the youth today. When the youths come out of schools and colleges, there is no guarantee for a job or career. They seem to have no goal to work to in life, many turn to drinking, gambling, substance abuse, partying, even prostitution. In many parts of the region young people are still suffering from hunger, lack of access to education, health services and job opportunities, and are exposed to insecurity and violence.
It is fact that for youth agriculture is not an attractive job because the role models of youth when they see agriculture or think for a farmer they see only their fathers or fore fathers who struggles to make both ends meet as muddy one. According to Bandura, People learn from other individual through imitation, observation and modeling. However when the youth see their parents who are struggling to meet day to day ends due to low productivity and increase poverty the agriculture sector never make an interesting or appealing to the youth. Agriculture sector was never an easy choice of career they put them as last option. Interesting never the parents or other family members want their children to take up this traditional occupation. There are many reasons for not preferring this sector.
The developmental task of an early adulthood or youth (20-35 years) includes the social task which promotes healthy and better life styles. They are also expected to have a secure paid employment which will promote self identity and autonomy. They are also expected to have emotional maturity to build an intimate friendship and close emotional relationship which may leads to a marital relationship forming mutually supportive and emotionally beneficial and inter a relationship which is crucial for emotional health leading to good mental health. However for many of the man in this period it is difficult to get compatible partner, searching for marriage partner become difficult as many educated girls prefer for male partner who are working in service sector as words used to say “better to marry a peon than a farmer”. This does not make Agriculture attract to the youth. This increase the rural urban migration especially in North East India many youth migrated to metropolitans in search for jobs and less service sector and more unemployment in their specific states. The solution is agripreneurshipi.e entrepreneurship in agriculture. This will ensure value addition to rural resources in rural areas engaging largely rural human resources.
Another major challenge that are holding back the youth from agriculture in North eastern region is most of the youth do not think of entrepreneurship as a career option. More over they do not have access to land, financing, climate change, interest, market, sustainability , education and training, facility, policy and programmes, top-down approach and low service quality. This can be attractive to the youth again by giving information and awareness about various innovative ideas, export import business and various schemes and programmeof the government. There is need for some initiatives steps to make agriculture remunerative and attractive at the same time and dealing as an agripreneurs. The youth are need to be motivated to take up entrepreneurship as a career, with training and sustaining support systems providing all necessary assistance.
One of the Strength Weakness Opportunities Threat (SWOT) analysis to strengthen Youth for agripreneurship in North eastern region are in Strength side they are energetic, have potential to produce more and they are exposing to media and they are capable of accepting the new innovative ideas. Whereas in their weakness in a traditional family or in our culture elders takes the decision of the family which limit the youth in decision making and lack of skills and exposure and non remunerative prices for agricultural products. In the opportunities part increase demands for primary and secondary agricultural commodities for export business as well as local demand preferring for organic products and people’s awareness about nutrition and health giving more open for the marketing business. The farmer’s friendly government policies, incentives as well as various schemes and hikes in farm product will surely make youth to become an agripreneur. Regarding threats agripreneurship is not considered as white colour jobs, better opportunities in outside agriculture, poverty and unemployment in the region.
Some of the strategies that can increase participation of youth in agriculture or agripreneurs are:
* Capacity building of youth through various training programme and workshops
* Short term vocational training especially in entrepreneurship development programme
* Training on food processing, packaging, marketing as well as licensing and branding
* Awareness of various schemes, policy and programme and market linkage for better selling of the product
* Educating youth on world scenario for need of foods and its importance.
For agriculture to become vibrant and attaining self-reliance, it is very much needed to prioritize in stimulating interest and encouraging participation of youth in agriculture. It assumed significance as the role model theory always suggested as a way to motivate youth to sets goals and to achieve ambitious goals especially to members who are often stigmatised in setting an achievements.
The youths to become successful agripreneurs need a strong support system for advisory services. These advisories services need to provide important information and access to people, markets, and financial services and train the youths in the required managerial and other functional skills. Alongside, we also need to influence policy makers for regulations to create an agripreneurship-friendly environment, reduce barriers, or change prevailing values in societies.
(The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Community Science, Central Agricultural University (Impha)
Tura, Meghalaya. Email: [email protected])

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