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Innovative Agri-entrepreneurship for Rural Livelihood
Dr. Banarsi Lal11/16/2019 10:24:15 PM
Farmers are said to be prosperous only when they have enough amount of money in their accounts and this is possible only when their main occupation i.e. agriculture becomes more profitable. It has been observed at various fora that occupation of traditional agriculture is not so profitable without any charm. Thus, many farmers especially the rural youths are not being attracted to undertake agriculture as an occupation rather they are disenchanted with this occupation. Agricultural profitability can be enhanced by the adoption of modern agricultural technologies which are directly or indirectly supported by the Government, Non- Government Organizations(NGOs) and other concerned agencies in various ways with the objective to improve the socio-economic conditions of the farmers. There are various types of constraints including those of labour, capital, risks, uncertainties confronted by farmers in food production and sale processes etc. compelling them to leave this occupation and migrate to some other places in search of economically attractive avenues yielding greater returns needed to satisfy their increasingly growing needs. This raises a very pertinent question how working in agriculture sector can be made more attractive, profitable and employment augmenting so as to mitigate the rising aspirations of the farmers and sustain them in agricultural occupation of food production for their families and also for the increasing population of the country. The answer lies in the adoption of multipronged approaches to deal with this problem of low agricultural profitability. These approaches can be adopted by the farmers and government and both the sides should consider it equally important. It is not a unilateral process rather it is always a bilateral phenomenon, developer(government) and developee (farmer) being two parties, working together in symbiosis. Indifference from either side is detrimental to solution of the problems of low agricultural productivity/profitability. Farmers should not think that it is only the government's responsibility to make agriculture more profitable, but it is also their responsibility to make it more profitable.
Adoption of agri-entrepreneurship in agriculture by farmers can be effective in development of agricultural economy and farmers' prosperity. The farmers, especially the rural youths, must imbibe the basics of agri- entrepreneurship and factors affecting its development. After that they must think of acquisition of gainful skill according to their resources, needs and interest in agriculture. For this, they should gear up themselves to attend some focused need-based agricultural and allied sectors trainings programmes.
Agri-entrepreneurship refers to an individual's characteristic by virtue of which he/she has an intense desire and will power to achieve the goal of earning most of the benefits by undertaking innovative activities of agricultural and allied sectors enterprises such as dairy, poultry, fishery, bee- keeping, horticulture, floriculture etc. together in symbiosis including the work of agri-value addition in order to improve one's livelihood by dint of actively engaging oneself in profitable and innovative agricultural enterprises by consistent hard work and adequate risk bearing ability. There are various ways to bring agri-entrepreneurship in agriculture such as:
(a) By changing the method (how to do) of agriculture: The method of agriculture can be changed by having strong will/commitment, learning of modern agricultural technologies by attending the farmers fairs, awareness/training camps, Kisan Ghosties, agricultural extension literature of State Agricultural Universities (SAUs),Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs),Indian Council of Agricultural (ICAR) institutions, radio, TV talks, consulting progressive farmers, input dealers, line department officials etc. , by growing High Yielding Varieties( HYVs) of crops, crop and soil management, input management, plant protection technologies , modern agronomic practices, farm mechanization, by undertaking market led agriculture such as growing such types of crops which can be sold easily at remunerative prices, i.e., the crops which have adequate demand in the market, entirely different crop suitable to the agro -climatic conditions of the farm may be taken, provided it is remunerative, borrowing from institutional sources for necessary capital requirement to take up and continue the enterprise in a scientific way, followed by timely repayment, learning to maintain farm records and calculating economics of various enterprises for self-appraisal and introspection so as to chalk out ameliorative strategies in future.
(b) By changing the dimension of agriculture:
Crop diversification: Crop diversification refers to the addition of new crops or cropping systems to agricultural production on a particular farm taking into account the different returns from value added crops with complementary marketing opportunities. This gives individuals and households more security to improve livelihood and to raise living standards.
Farm diversification: It consists of taking up of multiple agricultural production enterprises together, such as agricultural, horticulture, livestock, poultry, floriculture, fishery, bee keeping etc., on a piece of land, allocating suitable separate area for each enterprise, so that the output of one enterprise acts as input for the other one. Such type of symbiotic combination of agricultural production enterprises is not a new practice, but the same has already been practiced by our farming community since time immemorial depending upon their need, interest, culture, sources and capability. The farmer thinks about the enterprises combination to be taken according to the natural resources such as types of soil, topography, rainfall, source of irrigation, climate etc. he is blessed with. He also introspects his strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), which vary from farmer to farmer. There are many researches advocating Integrated Farming System(IFS)as an agricultural technology capable to significantly enhancing farm income in general·
Occupational diversification: Presently, most of farmers in India are normally confined to one role, i.e., producer only. They sell their produce to middlemen reportedly at remunerative prices resulting in low or no profit. Undertaking different diversified roles by farmers, such as producer, processor, value adder and marketer may be referred to as occupational diversification. Farmers are the real producers of the farm produce, it is the middlemen who take away the maximum benefit in the process of movement of farm produce from point of production to that of consumption, and they are left with only little benefit. By involving themselves in various roles of value addition and marketing of the farm produce or value added products to the nearest point of final consumers as far as possible, employment opportunities can be created for the farmers and increase their and others income. For this purpose, farmers should learn skill sets of farm production, processing, marketing and practice them gainfully, either locally or outside. They should sell farm produce not at harvest time when there is glut in the market, but at times of relative scarcity to obtain a maximum price. The farm produce should be sold at a place where a premium price can be obtained. They should process the farm produce into different products of consumer preference to obtain maximum price. They should advertise their processed product to gain the product popularity and trustworthiness to obtain maximum price.
(c) By changing the attitude of farmers: It is a very difficult task to change the attitude of the farmers. Farmers generally resist to change. Attitude of farmers can be changed by creating an intense urge to earn more and more money by dint of consistent hard work. Very minute observations should be made of successful activities in their lives and learn and emulate them and also learn factors of failures despite their endeavors. Attitude can also be changed by breaking one's socio-psychological and personal barrier to undertake any profitable enterprise, by learning and inculcating the characteristics of entrepreneurship in oneself, by formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) for a common cause and by inculcating belief in participatory development rather than individual development. However, there are certain barriers in agri-entrepreneurship development, such as physical, personal, family, social, economic, religious, cultural, educational, etc., which can be overcome to bring prosperity among the farmers.
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