Rural Sustainability for a Cohesive World
Developing sustained rural livelihoods
The rural regions experienced more diversity in the past but the movement of people with specialized skills to the urban regions has led to the reduction of this. Moreover, mechanisation has also pushed out certain jobs in rural areas. Indian crafts and scents produced from the rural areas were traded to regions as far as the northern parts of Europe. The demand for these exotic goods was very high and India enjoyed a very strong balance of trade in the past. With colonisation, most of these lost their prominence. They still exist but on a much smaller scale. Moreover, the entrepreneurial spirit of rural India is untapped and if given the right support, it could flourish.
Therefore the main focus in this panel would be on rural livelihood generation and sustainable employability. We will also look at special entrepreneurs who have devoted their efforts towards preserving local rural occupations and creating opportunities for the unemployed in rural areas by imparting formal training and skill development.
Agriculture innovations strengthening rural India
Agriculture is a sector that employs more than 50% of the Indian population. Nevertheless, it only contributes 17-18% to our country’s GDP. This sector is beset with many challenges. Being a region that is heavily dependent on monsoon, farmers are often in a precarious situation when the rains are bad. Irrigation facilities in certain rural areas are below par. Moreover, crops harvested often turn stale due to bad storage facilities and inefficiency in the agricultural supply chain. Faced with these constraints and many more, farmers face huge costs in producing and selling their crops. The growth of their income has not been proportional to the growth of costs. Therefore, margins for the farmers have plummeted.
To handle these issues and improve profitability, agricultural innovations can play a major role. At the forefront of these innovations are the technological ones that aim to improve the production capacity per acre and prevent the rotting of the harvested crops. Agri-tech start-ups are promoting transformation in the Indian agriculture sector through increased profitability, resilience and sustainability, besides encouraging more women entrepreneurs. In this Social Entrepreneurship Conclave, we are looking at innovators with sustainable solutions to improve agriculture and cultivation at both the input and process level.