From the 23rd to 27th January 2017, a training for Youth Leadership and Community Development was organised by the Society For Urban and Rural Development (SURE) Jowai, sponsored by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYK) Jowai at Moosakhia Village, Amlarem Block, West Jaiñtia Hills District, Meghalaya.
NESFAS was invited on the 24th January 2017 in one of the sessions to address on ‘Youth and Agriculture‘. This topic was also discussed in the previous youth workshop that was held in Sohrarim on the 20th December 2016. In this workshop, many youths from Jowai, Samanong, Wahjajer, Mopyut and also from Moosakhia took part. Most of the participants were still pursuing their education, some were farmers and some were involved in other employment sectors. The session was chaired by Mr. Janak Preet Singh and Mr. Pius Ranee, Associates at NESFAS, and facilitated by Mr. HH Morhmen.
Farming as a profession was raised in the session and many were of the view that it requires effort and hard work. It is common among every youth this is the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear the word ‘Agriculture’. “We often forget that all works are the same. No job is easy and that everything requires hard work,” said Janak Preet Singh.
Certain issues concerning the youth drifting from agriculture in leaps and bounds were discussed. In this era, we often forget that food, clothing, and shelter are the basic necessities for survival. With modernization, the focus is shifted. Our food security and agricultural sustainability are at a threat. One of the reasons is because a majority of the youths are currently drifted from farming.
Based on the survey held in Khat-ar Shnong, it was found out that many of the youth were of the view that farming is a poor man’s job and a dirty job. Many young people have this notion about farming as a profession. Also, it can be said that they are moving away from farming because of the lethargic nature due to less association with agriculture or even exposure to western culture. A profession is always associated with a certain caliber. In this case, an Officer will gain more respect than a farmer.
The main idea of the session is to rebrand agriculture. It all depends on the social actors of tomorrow to propagate the message and make agriculture a profession which is prevalent. It is in their hands to accept and also take pride in respecting agriculture as a profession.
The session focused on the role that the youth can play as communicators. It is important for them to start respecting the traditional knowledge of the elders. They can also contribute by connecting their parents who are engaged in agriculture and communicating with other sources. Communication, information and technological skills come in handy for the educated youth to help in this area.
It is important to rebrand agriculture as a job which is happening and not as a poor man’s job, but as a job that will actually feed any ‘Officers’. It is necessary to encourage the youth to voice their issues and concerns with regard to young people moving away from agriculture. The rural youth are the future of food security hence, it is important to ‘Rebrand Agriculture’ as a profession which is the need of the hour.