Demonstration of a mechanised paddy reaper to trainees in a training by a Green College in Eastern India.
Photo: Puja Sharma

15.09.2017

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India is the world’s second most populous country, and 35 per cent of its population are young people. However, only a quarter of them pursue education beyond Senior Secondary school level. The country has a workforce of nearly 474 million over 70 per cent of whom are rural workers. To reap the benefits of this demographic dividend, India must first overcome its skill development challenge, as less than five per cent of the total workforce has been formally trained. Here, Green Colleges can make an important contribution.

Over 85 per cent of the rural workforce in India are engaged in the primary (agriculture and allied) sector, which is in crisis. The past decade has seen reductions in the agriculture workforce; for the first time the number of cultivators is lower than that of agriculture labourers, for several reasons related to policy, economic, climatic and socio-cultural factors.

Reversing this disturbing trend requires building farmer institutions, agribusiness enterprises for value chain development, community managed extension of sustainable agriculture, technology upgrading investments in supply chains and policy-level changes. It is estimated that over 173 million rural workers are required to be skilled in agriculture and allied sectors over the next five years. Most of this demand is in short-term vocational training for direct farmer support, and it holds a considerable potential for young people.

Vocational training for food and nutrition security

Aligned with the Skill India Mission (see Box below), and with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ), Welthungerhilfe has been working on the Green College programme since 2015.

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