Youth plays a vital role in transforming Agriculture in India. There are emerging challenges of empowering the youth to improve their skills and to enable them to stay in the agricultural enterprise in rural situation. To address these issues, certain economic models are to be created in the villages for developing certain youth entrepreneurs in rural areas who can be a guide to others in the villages. Realizing the importance of rural youth in agricultural development especially from the point of view of food security of the country, ICAR had initiated a program on “Attracting and Retaining Youth in Agriculture (ARYA) during 2015-16. Under this scheme, special efforts are being taken up to attract the rural youth under the age of 35 years in agriculture so that the increase in the migration of rural youth towards cities is controlled.In order to meet the challenge of providing sustainable livelihoods for a rapidly growing population and to motivate and attract youth in agriculture, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR), inaugurateda two-day conferenceat NASC, New Delhi from 30-31 August, 2018 on Motivating and Attracting Youth in Agriculture (MAYA). He urged to create a “Mission for Youth in Agriculture” and “Regional Platform for Youth in Agriculture” with neighboring countries as partners and said that we need to attract youth in agriculture by providing them lucrative alternatives.
Dr RS Paroda, Chairman, TAAS,speaking on the occasion, urged to mainstream youth in agriculture. He emphasized that youth should to be trained as employer rather than employment seeker. The farmers in India need one stop solution for all their problems like a multi-speciality hospital.Dr MS Swaminathan, the father of green revolution in India, addressed online and said that youth have potential to revolutionize agriculture in India.Dr Ravi Kheterpal, Executive Secretary, APAARI said youth want to get involved in glamorous jobs. If such jobs are created in agriculture, it will bring revolution.Earlier, Dr AK Singh, DDG (Extension), ICAR, in his welcome address said that rural youth is running towards urban areas thereby putting tremendous pressure on the existing urban resources. Therefore, there is a need to create employment opportunities for the youth in rural areas in agriculture.The two day conference provides an opportunity to all stakeholders to interact and discuss various options and avenues for not only attracting youth to agriculture but even motivating them towards entrepreneurship in agriculture and allied fields. More than 200 participants including farmers from various states, senior research, development and policy related officials/managersfrom national and regional organizations, NGOs, the private sector, education and training institutions, and other members of civil society participated to discuss ways to motivate and attract youth in agriculture (MAYA). The regional conference has attracted participants from Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.The conference has been organized by the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), Skill India, Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) andNational Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD).