Becoming a Young Farmer in Madhya Pradesh, India

Author: Sudha Narayanan

Title: Becoming a Young Farmer in Madhya Pradesh, India

Abstract: In India, as well as globally, agriculture faces an apparent generational problem, with youth reluctant to take up farming as an occupation. Yet there has been limited research in India using a generational lens to understand young people’s trajectory in farming – their entry into and their continuation in farming. This study draws on in-depth qualitative interviews of a small sample of young men and women in farming communities in Madhya Pradesh. It focusses on young people’s experiences in becoming and being farmers, privileging their own perspectives on the challenges they encounter in accessing land, knowledge and other resources and how they negotiate them. The study finds that contrary to popular perception and notwithstanding aspirations to move away from agriculture, several young farmers given a choice would rather engage in agriculture as a full-time activity and seek support to be able to do so. The study underscores the need to treat young farmers, both men and women, as a distinct analytical category from the perspective of policy making.

Keywords: youth, agriculture, farming, gender, India

JEL Code: Q19; J13; J16