By Vaibhav Raut, Human Resource, Mahyco
Farming and agricultural activities have been the backbone of the society since the inception of time. In the early stages of human evolution, farming practices were done by everyone as they all grew their own food. However, with the passing of time and the development of society - agriculture was no longer an essential part of a layman’s set of skills. Today we can to go a super market, buy or even order vegetables, fruits and other agricultural produce, online.
We see the agricultural sector is at a crossroads where the demand for the products is increasing while the workforce in the sector is reducing. Even though the influx of innovation has helped the sector, there is still a need for skilled farmers who are equipped to use the new technologies and make farming more sustainable.
Hence, there is a dire need for agricultural education for children in schools as this knowledge is essential to students in several ways. As a society, it is our responsibility to educate the youth about agriculture and encourage them to pursue it as a career. They will get to know how they get the food they eat and from where it has arrived. It will help the children to gain perspective and know the real value of the food on their plates.
There are various places in the world where the agriculture is included in the school curriculum; and various courses are offered such as Agricultural Economics, Bioengineering, and Floriculture. In own small way, we also contribute to this thought by hosting school visits on our fields where students can see innovation taking place first hand. I remember meeting a student who concluded the trip by saying that she now wants to be a gene scientist. Her enthusiasm and energy inspired me and I was elated.
With new innovations such as drone technology, weather prediction apps, soil testing, machines such as combines and forage harvesters, there is an opportunity to give exposure to students at a very young age.
In an article I read recently, it highlighted the work done by FFA (Future farmers of America Association) as they run various educational programmes all over America to educate children about agriculture. In India, while the trend of migration to urban areas is common, reverse migration in the form of agri start-ups is also becoming a reality.
Hence, I strongly believe that children should be exposed to innovation in agriculture at a young age as it helps in their holistic development and encourages them to make informed career choices.
It helps children to develop basic life skills and understand various global issues like starvation, food security, climate change etc.
Children are the future of our country, of our agriculture and of the world. Let us harness this energy and their comfort of using innovation and technology more efficiently.