Public sector jobs drive women towards agriculture courses
Technical skills are being learned by women in order to improve farming operations. In comparison to other states, Kerala has the largest number of women pursuing agricultural education, according to Rajya Sabha data.
According to Binoo P Bonny, head of the Kerala Agricultural University's (KAU) Centre for Gender Studies in Agriculture, admission to the university's undergraduate programs is based on a student's performance in the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations' Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical (KEAM) exam (CEE). “In comparison to their male counterparts, women's exceptional achievement in the examination is assisting them in getting into agricultural education,” says Bonny.
Furthermore, she claims that the majority of women want to work in their hometown. “Having an agricultural education degree may help them secure a job as an agricultural officer at the panchayat level,” Bonny explains. Aside from that, she continues, they are also able to apply for numerous PSU employment relating to agriculture, including as those with public banks.
359 women were among the 457 students enrolled in KAU's BSc (Agriculture) programme in 2020. “In the Diploma in Agricultural Sciences (DASc), Diploma on Organic Agriculture (DOA), Engineering, and Forestry courses, women candidates were higher than men candidates,” according to Bonny.
Narendra Singh Rathore, vice-chancellor, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology (MPUAT), Udaipur says that despite an increasing number of women candidates in different courses, entrepreneurship is the least preferred choice.
Rathore says that there are host of reasons that cause low representation of women in entrepreneurship—including societal. “Lack of family support and household responsibilities, as well as safety concerns keep women at bay when it comes to opting between job and entrepreneurship,” he says.
Citing government initiatives, Rathore says that promotion of agro-based business would also need experts in the field so job opportunities are expected to grow further.
Central government has been implementing various schemes to promote agro-based employment in the country. Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has introduced a new component called Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship component under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) with the objective to generate employment by promoting startups in agriculture and allied sector.
To promote agricultural education and attract students in agricultural education, various national/international scholarships are being provided to students at different levels by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).