Motivating youth towards agri-entrepreneurship in Meghalaya

Lakshmi Dhar Hatai
Agricultural development is possible only with motivating youth towards effective entrepreneurial skills as well as optimum utilization of resources. Agri-entrepreneur has the ability to take account of the factors of production-land, labour, capital and use of them to produce new goods or services. Joshi and Kapur in 1973 had stated that Farm entrepreneur refers to the person or a group of persons who organizes and operates the agri-business and is responsible for the results i.e lossess and gains from the business and is pioneer in organizing and developing the farmers. Haredero in 1979 defined Agricultural entrepreneur as a person who introduces changes which directly or indirectly lead to higher agricultural inputs.
According to De in 1986 a farmer does not become an entrepreneur only by adopting a new agricultural technology but he becomes an entrepreneur only when he comes to be an operator of a farm business. Farm resources can be put to use in entrepreneurial activities, such as tourism or food processing, to foster economic viability. Farmers are an “innovative reservoir in agricultural communities and a potential source of entrepreneurship” (Alsos,2003). Entrepreneurship strategies are regarded as tools for developing new forms of society as part of comprehensive agrarian reforms. An “agricultural entrepreneur” is an individual or group with the right to use or exploit the land or other related elements required to carry out agricultural, forestry or mixed activities. An entrepreneurial farmer is a person who is able to create and develop a profitable business in a changing business environment.
Meghalaya is endowed with rich natural resources, which needs to be transformed into wealth through entrepreneurship development. Agri-entrepreneurship development is important for creating opportunities, raising rural incomes, removal of economic imbalances, poverty alleviation and strengthening agriculture-industry linkages in the State. The innovative and holistic approach to development is needed for local ecologies, institutions, people and resources in Meghalaya. The great concerns are the efficiency, growth, equity and sustainability in agricultural and allied sector in this region. For enhancing of agricultural entrepreneurship in Meghalaya, there is need of improved and innovative technology to raise production and productivity of agri produce. To meet the domestic as well as international quality standards, up-gradation, post-harvest marketing operations, e.g. harvesting, cool chain, packing and transportation have to be improved. There is necessity of developing linkages between the farm entrepreneur and market for achieving better remunerative prices. Meghalaya  has got tremendous scope for development of agricultural interventions. The State of Meghalaya has the specialty of ginger and turmeric,  fruits and variety of vegetables (pineapple, squash, kidney beans), Medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP), high value crops (passion fruits, citronella, lemongrass and pachuli etc.) are some of the niche commodity having ample scope to reap the uncommon opportunity for business. On the context of agro-climatic, socio-economic conditions and potentiality of agricultural, horticultural, pisciculture, sericulture, livestock and forest produce, Meghalaya is having a tremendous scope for agri-entrepreneurship development.
Agriculture is the mainstay for the people of the Meghalaya. About 80 percent of its total population depends entirely on agriculture and allied sector for their livelihood. In order to achieve the agricultural sector as a commercial and profitable enterprise, there is need to develop agri-entrepreneurship as well as production and marketing technologies which are simple, cost effective, location specific, eco friendly, economically viable and socially acceptable by the all farming community. Moreover, there is a vast potentiality of agro-based industries as Tea processing unit, Fruit processing and preservation unit, Paper mills, Ply wood factory, Match wood factory, Card Board factory, Diary based and Fishery based industry, Medicinal and aromatic plant (MAP) processing unit, Vermicompost unit, Mushroom unit etc. There is need of strong agricultural-industry linkage for economic growth and development of the state.
Constraints in Agricultural Entrepreneurship Development:
· Inadequate Post Harvest Infrastructure and processing facilities
· Lack of supply of raw materials
· Poor marketing infrastructure
· Lack of location specific advance agro-based technology
· Trading and marketing Bottlenecks
· Lack of Banking and financial facilities
· Lack of government initiatives
Strategy for Agricultural Entrepreneurship Development:
· Increasing agricultural production and productivity
· Improving quality of agro-products for exports
· Value addition
· Agricultural Marketing and export
· Supply chain management of agro-based produce
· Human resources development in the field of agri-entrepreneurship
· Strengthening of agriculture-industry support
· Addressing relevant agri-entrepreneurial policy issues
Suggestions for Agricultural Entrepreneurship Development:
· Improving market infrastructure, establishment of modern marketing and processing units, market integration will be helpful for the overall development of agri-entrepreneurship.
· Credit facility must be made simple and easily accessible to the farm entrepreneurs.
· Up-gradation, modernization and diversification of conventional technology and skills used in various agro-industrial units should be temporal, spatial and eco-friendly.
· Agri-entrepreneurship culture should be developed by encouraging and active participation in various Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) of agriculture and allied sector.
· Coordination and due efforts are necessary among the various stakeholders (Government, Banks Financial Institutions and educational institutions) to create successful agri-entrepreneurship in the state.
· Government should provide more incentives, latest technical knowledge, financial and marketing facilities to the desired agri-entrepreneur.
The vast potentiality of agriculture, horticulture, Livestock, fishery and forest produce in the state of Meghalaya, ‘Agricultural Entrepreneurship’ promises many hopeful and bright prospects in attracting youth through employment creation, generating revenue, and sustainable rural development. Agri-entrepreneurs play significant role in activating factors of production (land, labour, capital and management) leading to overall economic development of the state.
The writer is from College of Community Science, CAU (Imphal), Tura, Meghalaya
For further details contact: -Public Relations & Media Management Cell, CAU, Imphal. Email: [email protected]