Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA)
ICAR has initiated a programme on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture” based on the importance of rural youth in agricultural development especially from the point of view of food security of the country.
ARYA project will be implemented in 25 States through KVKs, one district from each State. In one district, 200-300 rural youths will be identified for their skill development in entrepreneurial activities and establishment of related micro-enterprise units in the area of Apiary, Mushroom, Seed Processing, Soil testing, Poultry, Dairy, Goatery, Carp-hatchery, Vermi-compost etc., KVKs will involve the Agricultural Universities and ICAR Institutes as Technology Partners. At KVKs also one or two enterprise units will be established so that they serve as entrepreneurial training units for farmers. The purpose is to establish economic models for youth in the villages so that youths get attracted in agriculture and overall rural situation is improved. Skill development of rural youths will help in improving their confidence levels and encourage them to pursue farming as profession, generate additional employment opportunities to absorb under employed and unemployed rural youth in secondary agriculture and service related activities in rural areas. The concurrent monitoring, evaluation and mid-term correction will be an integral part of project implementation.
KVK Lunglei District was selected along with 4 other KVK’s from North East among 78 KVK’s across the region. The title of the project for KVK Lunglei was “Social and Economic Empowerment of Tribal Youth through allied agricultural venture in Lunglei district of Mizoram”. Lunglei District in Mizoram lies in the South-Central part of the state with an area of 4538sq km. An increase in migration of the youth has been observed to be increasing on yearly basis. The prospects of agriculture are getting affected because of the youth shunning farming and migrating to cities in search of menial and non-farming jobs. The only way of attracting them to agriculture is to turn farming into a profitable venture in rural areas. The proposed project aims at not only making farming a profitable venture, but also increasing the farmers’ incomes by many folds.
The different activities of the project has been selected as per demand and taking into consideration the market potential. In these activities skill and entrepreneurship will be developed so that the tribal rural youth will undertake these activities as microenterprises. To sustain food security, it is imperative to encourage farmers to continue with agriculture, wherein the rural youths have a crucial role to play. Currently, there is a challenge of retaining youngsters in agriculture due to various socio-economic and cultural factors, including profitability in agricultural pursuits. It has become imminent to reorient agricultural practices to make them intellectually satisfying and economically rewarding for the youth.
i) To uplift the social and economic status of beneficiary youth by mobilizing the tribal youths in high-value agriculture and allied activities through innovative high pay-off interventions.
ii) Converting shifting cultivation to improved settled cultivation system and generating round the year employment and income in tribal rural areas to minimize migration.
iii) To develop Agro-entrepreneurship among the tribal youths in agriculture and allied activities as a sustainable business venture
- A bench mark survey along with SWOT analysis will be conducted prior to the initiation of the project at Lunglei district for various resources and their status and utilization pattern in the district.
- PRA tools will be used to identify potential tribal farm youth for different project components followed by group discussion.
- The proposed project will be taken up at various pre-selected (criteria based) points at Lunglei district.
- Training needs analysis will be conducted for the identified potential youth in carrying out different activities under the selected enterprises successfully.
The proposed project consists of four major components to be implemented such as-
- Pig rearing/breeding to produce quality breed piglets
- Production and Hatchery for birds to produce quality poultry
- Mushroom spawn production and mushroom cultivation/ production
- Bee keeping
- Each component will be entrusted to finally select potential tribal youth for implementation as per agreement to be signed between the implementing agency (KVK) and the selected tribal youth. Thus, a total of 200 tribal farm youth for the four components will be the beneficiaries in the entire period of two years of project implementation in the field.
- The selected tribal youth would be imparted institutional trainings to up-date their knowledge and skills on various aspects of production and management activities including post-harvest technologies and marketing under various project components.
- The project would also focus on providing linkage them with banks to get loans for setting up processing units and custom-hiring services related to farm machinery etc.
Expected Outcome / Impact
- At least 200 numbers of skilled youth will be developed.
- Livelihood security will be promoted
- Definite increase of rural youth’s earning will be achieved
- The rural youths will get a constant source of income from the project activities
- It will mobilize young farmers towards agriculture/allied sectors after the termination of the Project.
- There will be long term entrepreneurship development in agriculture and allied sectors among the tribal farm youth
- Establishment of linkages with the line departments and other allied stakeholders
- Marketing network will be developed and improved
- Production per unit area of different enterprises will be increased
- Enhance production of quality and locally available mushroom spawn, poultry birds/ chicks and piglets
- Formation of commodity interested group (CIGs).
- Input use efficiency will be enhanced.
- Soil health will be improved
- Prevention of soil erosion.
- Development of locally available IFS module.
- Vermi-composting will be increased.
- Increase vegetative coverage.
- Reduced migration due to generation of direct and indirect employment.
- Increased awareness among the villagers and youth on agriculture and allied sectors.
- Increased purchasing power, building of rural and self-confidence.
- Increased knowledge and skill.
- Helped in planning in community-based programmes.