The next generation farmers

During the past 10 years, rural youth, both boys and girls have started migrating to cities in search of jobs.  They land up doing odd jobs like security men, office peons, salesmen, packers at garment factories etc, with monthly salaries ranging between Rs. 1000 – Rs. 2000. With such meager salaries they cannot hire a house or even a small room at cities.  Hence most of them travel to their workplaces, as far as 80 kilometers, spending almost 5 hours on journey.  With travel and food costs, they are left with as little as Rs. 500 to Rs. 800 a month.

Most of these youngsters do own some land between 1 to 3 acres and it is difficult to understand why they go for an odd job elsewhere.  When we ask them the common answer is agriculture is not remunerative compared to even a security man’s job.  Yes, the reasons are many like unproductive lands, water scarcity for irrigation, financial support and lack of remunerative prices for the produce.  The reason for these problems is negligence in practices like soil and water conservation, livestock maintenance for producing manure and income and many more.

It is very important that the younger generation be imparted the self reliant system of agriculture and lifestyle.  Agriculture, particularly in the Indian conditions and culture will not sustain with external inputs.  We have to recycle all agricultural byproducts as fodder, manure mulch etc.  It is very important that farmers understand agriculture as not just crop cultivation, but an integrated farming system of tree cropping, farm forestry, animal husbandry, composting and crop production.  But in most cases importance is given only to crop production and nothing else; resulting in dependency for every input and making it unremunerative.

It is very sad to see even the middle class farmers discouraging their children from becoming farmers.  It is not only in India that it is very difficult to find a bride for a farmer’s son, but even in Holland and Germany, young men go to Poland to find their brides.  Hence the parents, the society and the school have a great responsibility in instilling the importance of agriculture and sustainability into the minds of younger generation. I know most of the farmers do not want their children to become farmers, as a mark of social status.  But all of us should understand that food is the most important thing for any living organism and no other profession can survive without agriculture.  So parents should give equal importance to teach various techniques of sustainable agriculture to their children along with academic education.  I think it is necessary to mention that my son did not show as much interest in studies as he showed in plants and animals and as a result he failed in all his subjects in matriculation.  But he is the most capable among my three sons in managing his share of the farm.  It is so sad to mention that his classmate committed suicide because his parents demanded high first class, though he had passed with 55 % marks.  Why I say this is because many parents want their children either to become an information technology employee in America or own a Nursing home in a capital city. They are not worried about their happiness and health and forget about their utility to the local community or even to their own parents.  So parents have to talk to their children about their farm and animals with respect and dignity and importance of producing and consuming healthy food and supporting nature and environment.

The education system has to be changed totally at least for the rural communities. The westernization of agriculture, particularly regarding the management of human excreta in agriculture and use of agro-chemicals eliminating many species of green vegetables and medicinal plants, does not apply for the tropical countries like India, and therefore has to be dropped. Let us destroy much of our western oriented agricultural technology texts and replace them or rewrite them using the wisdom of many farmers who are practicing farming sustainably.

Each school shall have atleast one acre of land for teaching compost making, vermiculture, Azolla cultivation for food, fodder and manure, nursery, grafting, tree cropping, gardening etc.   If land is not available let them learn at the village farmers land.  Let all the parents cultivate the habit of teaching their children to plant and protect atleast one sapling each year in memory of their birthdays instead of lavish spending and blowing off candles.  Even the burial grounds be planted with trees in memory of their dear friends and relatives as a part of organising ceremonies. Let us light lamps of joy and happiness and green earth.

L.Narayana Reddy, Srinivasapura, Via Maralenahalli, Doddaballapura Taluk, Hanabe Post – 561 203, Tel: 080 7651360


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