With increasing number of rural youth joining the labour market, rural entrepreneurship is seen as an important source of job creation where youth can be gainfully employed. But this requires investment in the youth in terms of building skills and capacities and improving their access to finance. RUDSETI, an NGO, has been offereing such services to the rural youth with great success.
The pressure of population on land is increasing and the average size of a farm holding is reducing, to below one hectare. Farmers are increasingly getting indebted and the temptation to sell prime farmland for non-farm purposes is growing.
Over 45 per cent of farmers want to quit farming, says a survey conducted by National Sample Survey Organization. We hear deplorable stories of farmers ending their life not being able to cope up with the loss and indebtedness from agriculture.
On a closer examination we find that agricultural land is still a great source of income. But it is the practice of unsustainable methods, improper resource management leading to successive crop failures that make agriculture non-profitable and risky.
As a result many young farmers are leaving agriculture and migrating to the cities. Under these conditions, how are we going to persuade educated youth, including farm graduates, to stay in villages and take to agriculture as a profession? How can youth earn a decent living in villages and help shape the future of our agriculture? At the same time, we also hear the stories of highly educated persons wanting to move into agriculture as their profession.
Research and experience has shown us that by adopting productive methods and by providing proper supportive mechanisms of credit and market, even a small holding can support a family. The farmers can stay back and live honorably in their own villages, rather than running to urban centers. Keeping this in mind, RUDSETI set out to train a large number of rural youth across various places in India. Today, these young farmers have not only proved that farming could be a very remunerative business but also have shown a way to the other entrepreneurs/unemployed that villages are the place their future lies in. We have presented some selected cases. We admire them and hope that the others of their ilk follow them and stop blindly migrating to the cities.
Building bio-diversity – case of Raju
Raju is a progressive farmer from Basavanapur of Chamarajanagar district in Karnataka. “After attending training at RUDSETI, Mysore, I have changed my views about agriculture”, says Raju. Before training, he was growing only paddy, ragi and jowar and doing sericulture on a small scale. But after attending training, he diversified his activities on the farm. Now he is growing banana, turmeric, tomato, cauliflower, coconut etc. apart from traditional food crops like ragi, paddy and jowar. Raju’s annual income is Rs. 3,00,000/- which was just Rs. 35,000/- in 1999. Now, he owns six more acre of land.
Turning land into rich resource – case of Biswas
Masibat Biswas from Padmanabhpur village in Murshidabad (West Bengal) owned a small piece of land. But the family could hardly meet its ends with the output from the farm. While the family was contemplating to migrate, Biswas who was looking for ways and means to make his land more profitable came to know about RUDSETI. He got trained in the Comprehensive Agriculture and Allied Activities in RUDSETI, Berhampore.
During the training, he learnt the skills of increasing soil fertility, management of pests and diseases, fruit processing and preservation. It was opening of a new world for Biswas. Knowledge about finance, management and banking was also essential to make agriculture lands more profitable. Masibat Biswas completed his training and he was full of enthusiasm and planned to turn his land into a rich resource. He started his farming with new confidence. He invested Rs.30,000/-. He bought a new bullock cart, sunk a shallow tube well, fixed a pump set and bought some implements. He started cultivating vegetables like cauliflower, brinjal, tomato, chilly etc. and fruit crops like banana. With the adoption of multi crop system, one or the other crop was ready for sale at any point of time in a year.
“The training at RUDSET Institute was the real turning point in my life. RUDSET Institute is helping in an individual becoming an entrepreneur by its training.” Biswas earns a net profit of about Rs. 50,000/- and he is happy to live in his own village.
Nurturing nurseries of hope – case of Shyam Prasad
Born in an agriculture family in a small village in DK District of Karnataka State, Shyam Prasad made a forced entry into agriculture after losing hopes in wage employment and self employment. Gradually, he developed interest in agriculture, bought a piece of land nearby Udupi and continued with cultivation of arecanut, paddy and coconut.
He attended a training on raising plant nursery in RUDSETI. He never anticipated that his training on Plant Nursery would bring miracles in his life. Soon after training, he started with two units. He expanded his unit to include nursery of arecanut, coconut, pepper, rubber, fruit crop like Mango, Sapota, amla, etc. He became popular in the area for supplying propagative materials of horticulture crops. He attended another training on medicinal plants in 2004 at RUDSETI. With this, he further expanded his nursery to medicinal plants and about 300 units of medicinal plants are there in his nursery. Scientific methods are being used on the farm. Shyam Prasad is now a man with conviction in agriculture and employs 15 people on his farm. The nursery unit attracts trainees from the neighbouring institutes, government officials, trainers and scientists from Research Stations.
“RUDSETI infused the necessary confidence in me by its unique way of imparting the entrepreneurship development training inputs.” says a hard working Shyam Prasad. He is earning a net profit of Rs. 7.00 lakhs per annum.
Case of Venkateswaramma
Venkateswaramma hails from an agriculture based family in a remote Vakavaripalem village of Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh State. She was forced to start farm based activitiy for her livelihoods as her husband was not well. She bought two animals from her own resources, but was not aware of the management aspects. This made her approach RUDSETI, Vetapalem and was trained in the Dairy programme.
After completing the training, she started dairy farm with two cows with own finance. She sells some milk to the nearby Milk Co-op. society and major portion to local customers. Due to good quality of milk, she has developed local market very well. Later she expanded her dairy unit by purchasing six more animals. Today Venkateswaramma earns a monthly income of Rs.7000. She is happy and a satisfied young woman recognized in her family for shouldering family responsibilities. With a broad smile on her face she owes the credit of her success to RUDSET Institute.
Jarnail turns into a beekeeper
Jarnail Singh, aged 27 years, a resident of Sansarpur village near Jalandhar (Punjab) had a dream to get a secured employment in a government office though his family owned 30 acre farm. Even after several attempts, he failed to get any government job. Then he approached RUDSETI, Jalandhar and collected information on the various training programmes. He attended “Bee-keeping” training programme at Jalandhar Institute.
Immediately after the training, he procured ten boxes and bees costing Rs.13,000/- and started his venture. After completion of one-year, he increased the number of boxes to 40. At present, he earns a handsome profit of 9,000/- per month. “I had an ambition to get a secure job in a government office. After being trained at RUDSETI, I realized that entrepreneurship is the best way to lead a decent livelihood. I am indebted to RUDSETI for making me self-reliant. I wish to increase the number of bee boxes to 100 in the forthcoming days,” Singh concludes with confidence.
N. R. Ravi Prakash
Ujire – 574240, Karnataka.