Promoting livelihood opportunities to rural youth through non-land-based activities

Increasing pressures on land is compelling youth to go out of farming. Not only farming, there are hardly any opportunities for these rural youth to be gainfully employed in the rural areas, thus resulting in urban migration. Unemployment being the most visible poverty symptom, many development programmes are now aiming at promoting self employment by equipping the rural youth with the necessary skills and motivation. Rural Development and Self Employment Training (RUDSET) Institute is one such institution working towards this objective.

The following text is an experience of RUDESTI in a watershed programme implemented in the State of Karnataka, India. One of the striking features of the project is the promotion of non-land based activities, particularly among the youth. This was done by identifying young people from these areas and providing formal training in rural enterprises they were interested in. The training was imparted by RUDSET Institute in Doddahalla Watershed Development Project in 7 villages of Indi Taluk, Bijapur District, Karnataka.  RUDSET Institute has been instrumental in facilitating and promotion of micro enterprises by the marginal and land-less stakeholders.

Here is a success story of Sri Bhimashankar Yashwanth Nikkam. This story throws light on how livelihood opportunities are available to the younger generation, to what extent does formal institutions help young people to develop the skills and address the needs of the younger generation of the agriculture and allied communities.

Chicken from Devar Nimbargi village of Indi Taluk in Bijapur District is now a popular household name in each and every house.  Sri Bhimashankar Yashwanth Nikkam, a successful entrepreneur, who runs this firm is engaged in poultry business.  An astonishing feature of Nikkam is that he is a pure vegetarian!  In spite of the cultural conflicts, he has established his poultry venture and has been running it successfully.

Hailing from an agricultural family, Nikkam is the youngest son among four children to the couple Yashwanth Bhavurai Nikkam and Yesubai Nikkam.  Nikkam was highly encouraged to take up studies since his elder brother and sisters could not pursue better education.  Nikkam, who was very studious, was also meritorious in extra curricular activities.  An unfortunate incident during his Intermediate examination, shattered his dream of higher education into pieces.

This setback in education naturally made Nikkam to pass his time with his friends and loaf here and there.  At this juncture, Community Organiser of VISHALA, an NGO, introduced Nikkam to RUDSETI. The faculty of the Institute motivated Nikkam to attend the Entrepreneurship Development Programme at RUDSET Institute.

“The training accorded to me at RUDSET Institute was very effective wherein “life education” was imparted to me, which stands very high when compared to the formal education provided at schools and colleges.  Training through simulation games on business opportunity guidance, entrepreneurial competencies, problem-solving, creativity, banking, financial management, labour and time management, market survey, marketing management, costing and pricing ignited the spark in me to launch a self-employment venture and handle it successfully” says Nikkam.

The first idea that struck to his mind was rearing fowls.  After the training, he grasped poultry farming as a lucrative business.  But when he expressed his desire to start a poultry, everyone discouraged  him saying that the local climate was not conducive to poultry due to heat of scorching sun during summer months.  There were cultural barriers as well in his family to start this enterprise.

In the     meanwhile, Nikkam got first hand information from Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science.  Acquiring adequate knowledge from the Department, he started to do market survey.  He visited four poultry units, existing in and around Chadachan and collected extensive information.

Since Nikkarn did not have an account in the Bank, he could not even dream about availing loan from it.  His mother borrowed Rs. 5,000/= from Mathoshree Self-help Group, of which, she is a member. She also gave Rs. 2,000/= from her savings.  Nikkam’s father borrowed Rs. 4,000/= from his neighbour at high rate of interest.  He invested Rs.11,000 /= and brought 250 fowls, reared them for two moths and earned Rs.5,000/=.  Thrilled by the handsome profit, he aspired to expand his business.  At this juncture, Syndicate Bank at Devara Nimbargi also came forward and sanctioned him a loan, thus supporting his venture.

His journey towards reaping this benefit was not at all a bed of roses.  It was an arduous task to rear the fowls during the primary stage.  When a few died, he got disheartened.  However, with regular advises from the RUDSETI faculty, during their follow up visits, Nikkam once again regained his confidence. He consulted experts and provided timely medication, thus escaping from incurring huge losses.  While marketing the chicken, Nikkam used novel methods and tapped opportunities to reap optimum benefit.

A petty shop situated in a conspicuous place in his village was in a dilapidated condition and closed down.  He contacted the owner and made arrangements for selling chicken.  He also gave employment to a physically challenged boy by paying Rs.50/- per day for selling the chicken.  During the initial stages, it was going on well.  But in due course of time, the employee started demanding more salary in advance.  Nikkam sent him home mentioning the he could pay only Rs. 50/- per day.

Nikkam gave importance to maintaining proper accounting system. He has a record of every detail like the day fowls were brought, their date of selling and their date of death, if any, during the batch.

Today, Nikkam’s poultry business is well known to all the people residing in Indi Taluk.  He receives special status among his relatives. Nikkam owes his success to the training imparted at RUDSET Institute which transformed his life totally.


  1. Jagadish, Faculty, RUDSET Institute, Central Secretariat, Siddavana, Ujire – 574240, D.K.district, Karnataka, Tel: 08256 306222, email:

B. Jagadish

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