M. Parthibaraj, a software professional working in Chennai, shifted back to farming in his village.
Photo: Sharada Balasubramanian

11.12.2018

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The average age of an Indian farmer is almost 50 years. With more and more young people migrating from rural areas to cities, the number of farmers practising agriculture will decline in the long run. In a pilot initiative called “Retaining Village Youth in Agriculture”, the Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems, along with India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development and Rabobank Employee Foundation, Netherlands, partnered together to invoke interest among the rural youth of Tamil Nadu to practise and sustain their traditional occupation, agriculture – with success, as the following examples show.

On a late morning, M. Parthibaraj, a 28-year-old farmer, runs vividly around his ten-acre plot of land, chasing almost a dozen goats, one after another. The goats were left for grazing, and now have to be led back to their sheds. After almost five rounds of running around the farm, he manages to bring all the goats together inside the shed and closes the gate. The hens and the goats are all safe now. Relieved, Parthibaraj looks up his coconut tree, pulls out a few of them with a long stick and brings them down. Sipping coconut juice straight from his farm, he asks: “Can you experience this in a city?”

After gaining a Master’s Degree in Computer Application (MCA), like many rural youths, Parthibaraj had migrated to the city for work. Cocooned in a nine-to-five cubicle job, he was frustrated and unhappy. One day, he decided to quit his plush software programmer job in the city of Chennai and return to his village in Adamangalam, Sirkazhi district of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to work as a farmer.

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