Meet Sudarshan S. Wali from a Fairtrade sugar SPO- Primary Agriculture Credit Co-operative Sangha Niyamit, Itagi FLO ID 27791; India – A youth who is concerned about how climate change will perpetuate food insecurity for smallholder farmers and youth in agriculture, driving them away from the profession. He sees agriculture as a potential industry for youth if the labor-intensive industry also creates an economic impact on the lives of the youth.

‘’One challenge I would like to address on a priority basis would be issues related to climate change. The average rainfall in our area usually lasts for 02-03 months. Last year it was affected by heavy rainfall for almost 05 months, due to which major of our crops was destroyed. Sugarcane and other crops produced by the farmers have become growth stagnant, thereby affecting the yield. Last year, the average yield per acre was 30-40 tones, however, this year it was massively reduced to 15-20 tones, but the cost of production remains the same. As a youth leader, I would like to focus more on training and educating our farmers on the importance of climate change adaptation measures, starting with training them on taking proper measures for scientifically draining the soil and the importance of maintaining proper drainage facilities in the field’’.

When asked about how youth can address the issues of millions of farmers deserting farming and encourage more youth to take up agriculture as their professions, he mentions- ‘’ Firstly, we need to remove the communication gap between the old and younger generation in this field. Much of the people in this field are senior farmers who follow the traditional method of farming and go by the belief that they know everything. My responsibility as a youth leader would be to remove this communication barrier and convince them to come up with more youth inclusive programs so that their voices and ideas can be heard.

Secondly, agriculture is a very labor-intensive job, which is normally not preferred by the youth these days. They prefer 9-5 jobs, whereas agriculture requires a commitment of 24/7. If I become a profit-making agriculturist, then automatically the youth will follow me. Thirdly, farmers will always have a good future. If everybody leaves agriculture, who will feed the population? I am aware that many are deserting this profession, but it should be seen as an opportunity, for more youth to enter this field.’’- Sudarshan S. Wali; Primary Agriculture Credit Co-operative Sangha Niyamit, Itagi; FLO ID 27791; India

NOTE: The following interviews do not reflect the views or opinions of Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP).  Any views or opinions represented in this interview are personal and solely belong to the interviewee.