Educating 60 Indian entrepreneurs in sustainable agriculture
In the villages of the Indian region of Tamil Nadu, agricultural entrepreneurs mostly come from the older generations. Their ways of doing things do not have a great appeal on the younger people. It is Innovation Time! A new type of project gets younger people interested in a career in this line of work.
On the one hand, we have the current farming methods based on outdated methods that yield minimal profits. On the other hand, we have young people who are increasingly uninterested in life as farmers due to a lack of technology, financial problems and big city temptations. The Centre for Indian Knowledge System (CIKS) aims to educate young people with an interest in farming about technology, innovation, marketing and finance. This way, young farmers are groomed to become excellent entrepreneurs from within the sector. This results in improved agricultural yield and boosts the local economy, benefiting the local community.
The courses are both practical and theoretical with a focus on making the farming in the area increasingly sustainable. To bring this about, a new approach is required with an emphasis on technology and innovation. A good match with the young farmers’ interests. When they finish the courses, they are the symbol of change in their society. After successfully concluding the training, the young people join the Valanadu Sustainable Agriculture Producer Company, which provides them with a minimum wage and a performance bonus. This stimulates the young farmers to become and stay agricultural entrepreneurs.
“It is of crucial importance to develop technical and innovative skills”
A higher pay check and more sustenance security
The CIKS project was nominated for funding by Hari Rajagopal, who works at Rabobank India and is an advocate for the Rabobank Foundation. “Developing technical and innovative skills as well as sharing and implementing best practices is crucially important to promote agricultural yields and rural economic development. This programme stimulates sustainable, modern farming, increases the farmers’ income and improves food security.” Hari also indicates that he supports the project, because it closely matches the two main goals of the Banking for Food: ‘food availability’ and ‘access to food.