Evaluating The Trends In Socio-Economic Development Through Rural Agribusiness Studies
The rural agribusiness course typically includes modules on crop production and inventory management, technology in agriculture, food policies, agro supply chain, agricultural finance and marketing, rural enterprise, entrepreneurship in agriculture, international practices in agriculture and much more.
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In the past few years, rural agriculture has emerged as one of the niche fields in the business world. Several entrepreneurs and organizations are now exploring agriculture from the business point of view to improve its production and facilities, allied sectors and quality of life of farmers.
Given that the Indian agriculture sector is one of the largest in the world, provides employment to more than 50% of country’s population and makes up to 17-18% of country’s GDP, it is moving towards fast-paced growth, profitability and sustainability. Several domestic and international companies are making huge investments to drive innovation in agribusiness and agro-value chain; create more opportunities for rural poor; and contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. There is no doubt that Indian agriculture is in its one of the most exciting phase and is undergoing a transformation for better.
Many students, budding entrepreneurs and even farmers are now showing an increasing inclination towards agribusiness studies owing to the professional growth opportunities it offers. After the completion of the course, they have a choice to launch their own agri-venture or seek employment in farm production, food wholesaling and retailing, health and food departments, food-based technical research institutes, agriculture import-export firms, weather forecast organizations and agriculture education. The job opportunities are immense.
Realizing the popularity of this field, several institutes have launched courses in rural agribusiness studies. The rural agribusiness course typically includes modules on crop production and inventory management, technology in agriculture, food policies, agro supply chain, agricultural finance and marketing, rural enterprise, entrepreneurship in agriculture, international practices in agriculture and much more. Some courses even focus on other allied disciplines such as forestry management, animal husbandry and sustainable environment.
The rural agribusiness studies also highlight the trends in socio-economic development to create a better understanding for its applicants. Let’s take a look at these trends:
Economic Development and Pro-Poor Growth
Around 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas. Barring a few thousand people, a majority of the rural population including the farming community still lives a life of economic misery. Agribusiness professionals can rethink agricultural policies and poverty-alleviation programmes to make recommendations for pro-poor policies. This will go a long way in creating pro-poor governance, making the economic development inclusive and eliminate income equality in India. It is only then the country can be said to have a progressive economic development.
Linkages Between Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Sector
Agriculture is closely interlinked with several non-agricultural sectors either directly or indirectly. For instance, it is highly dependent on the fertilizer, electricity and farm equipment companies for inputs. However, its outputs such as food crops are the beginning point of the entire food industry, right from the farm to table as you would say. Other agricultural produces such as cotton, rubber and jute work as raw materials for many industries to create lifestyle apparels and other consumption products. Agriculture also has interdependency with the livestock industry, fishery, poultry, forestry and water bodies management. All these sectors are then further dependent on banks and other financial services for savings and investments. Agribusiness professionals can ensure that the production, demand and supply cycle within agricultural and non-agricultural sectors work in tandem.
Contribution to National Income
While the agriculture sector is one of the top GDP-driving sectors, it is also an unorganized sector. Most are small-time farmers, owning a few acres of land and deploying their family as farm labour. There is a lack of professionalism and adequate regulations. If someone wants to buy farming land, the process is quite undefined and tedious. Agribusiness professionals can look into these issues and bring agricultural under the organized sector category to increase the overall national income. The government is expecting to double the farmer’s income by 2022 which indicates how agriculture is crucial to national income.
Relief from Shortage of Capital
The agriculture sector can contribute significantly to making India a self-sufficient economy and reduce the country’s dependence on foreign investments. When less foreign capital is borrowed, the country’s debt burden will also reduce. The agribusiness professionals can give consultancy to farmers on how they can increase personal as well as the nation’s capital flow by using resources optimally and opting for innovating farming practices.
Creation of Infrastructure
Currently, many agricultural lands in India are not well-connected to roads and lack access to technology, transportation, warehouses and market yards. There is also a dire need to bring finance and marketing services as well as digital capabilities at the doorstep of the agricultural community. Agri-infrastructure is a major concern but also translates into opportunities. The Indian government is already working actively on expanding road and rail infrastructure and release more capital for infrastructure development in rural areas. Agribusiness professionals can give important insights to the policymakers about the necessary infrastructure required to realize the full potential of agriculture in the economy.
There are several social issues such as migration, disease burden, lack of women empowerment and inaccessibility to education plaguing the agriculture sector in India. Agribusiness professionals can also look into the social development aspect and find out ways to eradicate these issues.
The rural agribusiness studies offer a launch-pad for aspiring job seekers as well as entrepreneurs to not only brighten their career prospects but lead the social-economic development of the country.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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