Agriculture students prefer biotech, nanotech: Assocham

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 25 2009, 03:26am hrs
Over 71% of agriculture graduates are eager to purse higher studies in biotechnology and nanotechnology rather than other areas of agricultural sciences as these two disciplines have emerged as the lead sector to absorb innovations and thus will prove a lucrative area for them.

These findings have been brought out at survey carried out by an apex industry body, Assocham on `Prospects in Agriculture vis-a-vis Bio & Nanotechnology for Young Scientists’ at its 6th Knowledge Millennium Summit which came to a conclusion in Delhi a few weeks ago, in which over 600 science students participated.

Only a meagre 29% of respondents said that they favour to pursue academic excellence in agriculture to push up innovations to serve needs of 70% of India’s population so that agriculture also become a lead sector to attract talents contribution to it, said the Assocham President, Sajjan Jindal.

The main reason attributed by young science graduates, taking part in Knowledge Millennium Summit for their disinclination towards agriculture is because they think that even businessmen in majority do not wish to invest in agriculture as it is full of uncertainties and remain dependent on external factor like rain, availability of inputs and quality seeds at affordable rate.

The whooping majority of science students for pursuing their higher professional courses in bio and nanotechnology, according to 71% of them is mainly due to the reason that technological innovations in the field provide for optimum exploitation of biological processes for industrial development.

This excitement is sadly missing in the field of agriculture in which population above 55 years of age is engaged, said most of the aspirants.

Nearly 73% of respondents were of the view that population between 20 to 40 years of age have aversion to agriculture because the hard work put in it does not produce the desired results as not many technological infusions are being inducted in this sector. On the contrary, advance understanding of the biotech sector would land majority of young scientists for better placement and there is no point, shaping a particular intellect for agriculture sector.

About 50% of respondents expressed optimism that if the government can create availability of amenities to young literate population of the country in villages and agriculture fed area with agricultural training centres for advance studies, these will definitely yield results and inspire youngsters to pursue academic and professional courses in agriculture.

Nearly 55% of respondents suggested for overall development, village and villagers should made all round plans for development including the agriculture and common service centres should be set up to fully involve rural youths for agri promotion and banks, financial institutions, cooperatives should extend liberal grants to farm sector so that students are oriented to develop their faculties more towards agriculture than in any other sector.

About 70% of respondents said that government has nearly allocated Rs.1000 crore to promote technological innovations in the field of biotechnology while there is hardly any such grant and allocation budgeted to promote technological infusions in the Indian agriculture sector.

Why should students of calibre should develop their professional faculties for agri sector, asked most of the respondents with a request that special corpus should be created by the Union Finance Ministry in consultation with Agriculture and Food Ministry to promote agriculture research in India.

The respondents also were of the view that the Union ministries for agriculture and food should take special initiatives with all states and Union territories to promote agriculture research in a manner so that it is not centralised as is the case now and efforts put in for its decentralisation so that aspiring agriculture scientists can access innovations in the field of agriculture.