Will India’s 'Demographic Dividend' Payout?
India is on the brink of an exploding workforce that will need a sustainable means of livelihood in the immediate future. The Census of India 2011 estimates that by 2020, over 65% of the country’s population will attain working age, which has been summed up as India’s “demographic dividend”. But on the other hand, there is also the fact that one out of every three graduates in India is unemployed.
The table below further illustrates how India is sitting on a virtual time bomb that may result in disillusionment and disenfranchisement unless opportunities for gainful employment are not devised urgently.
Youth population ratio (%) in rural and urban areas by education level
|Diploma (< graduation)||59.1||25.2||49.1||61.6||31.8||51.5||60.5||29.4||50.5|
|Diploma (> graduation)||50.7||12.9||32.6||64.0||34.6||52.3||60.4||27.2||46.3|
Source: NSS 66th Round, Schedule 10 – Employment and Unemployment, 2009-10
What Does the Youth of India Have to Look Forward To?
Opportunities abound in various sectors, ranging from BPO, KPO, IT and numerous other sectors. However, such white-collar jobs require a high level of education. While there is a tremendous amount of drive towards education, the speed at which the population is increasing and literacy being propagated, India will have to struggle with staying ahead.
What appears is a seemingly bleak future unless one considers a sector which has never been thought of – like agriculture. Up until now, a career in agriculture has never been considered. Is it a good career? If yes, then what are the top reasons why agriculture is a good profession? Let us find out.
Is a Career in Agriculture a Viable and Feasible Life Decision?
The answer is yes!
With the growing population, more than any other commodity, food will always remain the most critical. However, as one pictures ‘agriculture’, one can’t help but visualize backbreaking labour and meagre returns.
Well, agriculture is a far more dynamic sector such preconceived notions. And now, with technology the picture, agriculture need not paint the typical picture one associates with it. Job profiles and titles in agriculture are as complex and diverse as those in the corporate sector. These profiles include Agronomist, Food scientist, Filed inspector, Agricultural engineer, etc., and of course direct farming. The possibilities are endless, and opportunities abound. If we dig around there are many top reasons why agriculture is a good profession.
What Are the Possibilities and Opportunities?
As of today, there are so many reasons that favor a purposeful career in agriculture. Some of the factors are a result of the market while others are innate opportunities in agriculture itself.
Let’s take a closer look at the various incentives if one were to choose agriculture as one’s life career.
Government schemes: The government of India has created a wide platform to promote agriculture. Numerous schemes and programs have been initiated which are designed to help not only farmers but students as well as NGOs.
For instance, the Meghalaya government schemes for farmers provide subsidies to farmers not only for agricultural production but for horticultural produce as well. Most of these programs offer subsidies, while others include training, grants, material benefits and other incentives.
High value – Low volume: The market is opening, and opportunities abound in high value produce like spices, aromatic plants & herbs and emerging super-foods like quinoa. So while you may not own a huge plot, one can always make the best of whatever plot of land one owns to grow high value produce.
Organic movement: The organic food market in India is growing at 25-30% and is set to reach ₹9,000 crores by 2020. And recent estimates peg the domestic market at ₹300 crores while the export market stands at ₹700 crores.
The awareness and growth of this movement were also compounded by the rise in the number of diseases owing to the excessive presence of chemical contamination in our food. With growing awareness about healthy living, consumers are willing to pay premium prices for organic food products. And these range from vegetables to grains to pulses.
Moreover, the government is determined to back organic farming and is providing various schemes and subsidies for farmers who are growing their produce organically.
Food processing: Consumers are constantly in search of unique food products that appeal to a range of age groups, health conditions and preferences in their families. And this is where the food processing industry makes the money.
A good example is the wide variety of fusion teas available on the market. Sold individually, there are only so many varieties of teas, ranging from the conventional black to the health enthusiast’s green to the recently introduced white tea. Yet, once fused with various ingredients, the final product takes on an entirely new aspect and the cost more than doubles.
The next five years will see food production doubled and the food processing industry will have a major impact on the market as well as the consumers.
Supply chain: India has a total of 118.9 million farmers, who account for 24.6% of the total workforce of 481 million! These farmers are spread across the country and even though several government initiatives have been formulated, challenges still exist with respect to supply chain and storage. This is especially true with farmers of topographically challenged regions like Northeast India.
Farmers here must contend with growing only subsistence crops that provide them with easy cash, which can be quickly sold in the market. As a result, farmers are reluctant to grow high-value crops. For someone who chooses to connect these farmers to the market, the possibilities are endless.
With the above being said, and as with any job, the agriculture sector too is not an easy one. There are as many challenges as there are opportunities. Yet, when one considers the positive aspects, as well as the amount of attention that the agriculture sector is garnering, one can’t help but be optimistic!
So if you are considering a career in agriculture, then you are in a for a long, challenging but rewarding career. Let us know what you think about a career in agriculture and working with the World's Best Turmeric.