Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust (SSIAST)
Although 70% of India’s total population reside in rural areas and are mostly in the agriculture sector, they only contribute to a meagre 14% of the country’s GDP.
India’s economy may be growing more than twice as fast as the rest of the world but its progress on job creation is just the opposite – the employment rate of rural youth in India is at 7.15%
Despite a multi-pronged approach to improve income and social security of farmers, over 12,000 suicides were reported in the agricultural sector every year since 2013.
Lack of Sustainable Livelihoods for Rural India
India is an agrarian economy – 58% of the rural households depend on Agriculture as the principal means of livelihood. However, agriculture contributes to a small part of the local GDP as Conventional Farming practices have not been viable for a large majority of farmers because of high inputs costs and poor economies of scale. Unemployment rate may increase further if small farms give way to concentrated, large-scale and highly mechanised agribusiness.
Rural youth population seem to have lost the sense of pride in being associated as a ‘farmer’ and want to migrate to urban areas for more profitable employment opportunities.
Farmers take loans to pay for high cost fertilizers , pesticides and hybrid seeds for higher yield. However, low yield due to natural and factors such as low rainfall, low yield and ineffective crop seeds lead farmers to debts, which causes them to suffer from acute stress and ultimately, commit suicide.
Is there a way to address these interconnected challenges together ?
To solve the interdependent issues of rural youth unemployment and to build capabilities of farmers, the Art of Living Projects team has initiated the Prakriti Vidya Peeths (PVPs) or ‘Farmer Field Schools’.
PVPs would empower farmers and equip aspirating rural youth with the necessary knowledge, skills and training to be profitably and sustainably successful in the agricultural sector. The training courses would help the small farmers/producers to have better access to technology, finances and market, thus ensuring a significantly higher income.
PVPs would be community based sustainable colleges where farmers, youth and women would be trained in sustainable agricultural practices.
Why we do this
We believe that the real transformation and sustainable development of India will happen only when the people of rural areas:
Realise that they have the power to change.
Are empowered with business development “know-how” and equipped with the right skill-sets
Take responsibility for decentralized management of natural resources.
Ultimately our aim is to redeem the pride in farming for rural youth on Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry & Animal Husbandry by making these rural enterprises viable, economically more productive and the Farmer a “Proud Ecopreneur”.
How we work
PVP takes an innovative and alternative approach to work with the farmers and rural youth in their traditional occupation of farming and water conservation.
Prakriti Vidya Peeth, are village-based learning institutions that :
Combine traditional wisdom with scientific techniques
Train rural youth in green trades
Help farmers and local youth to become eco-entrepreneurs