In less developed parts of the world, negative perceptions of a life in food production have resulted in many young people moving to the city seeking prospects of a greater livelihood. A rising number of rural youth in developing and emerging economies are turning their back on small-scale agriculture. Limited access to markets, assets, finance and infrastructure in rural areas, coupled with perceived employment opportunities in urban areas increasingly makes cities the preferred choice in the search for a better life. Yet small-scale farming remains a key source of livelihood and employment and will be critical to future food security. Engaging rural youth in agriculture is key in an era of rapid rural change.
Both the government and the corporate sector must increase the number of scholarships for agriculture students to enhance research and development. This will help them become better professionals and improve their earning capacities. The government must also enhance their professional status so that more youth take up jobs in this sector.
It is common knowledge that students of agriculture rarely utilise their knowledge in practical farming. This must change. We must emulate the success stories in Maharashtra and Punjab, where agriculture students have taken up farming and are using proper seeds, machinery and agro management techniques.
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