Ernakulam District Profile
Socio-economic and technological problem
Ernakulam district has a population of 32.8 lakhs and population density of 1,069 inhabitants per square kilometre. Its population growth rate over the decade was 5.6%. Ernakulam has a sex ratio of 1028 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 95.68%. The district is urbanised 68.07%. Migration of youth has been a factor of declining trend in Agriculture sector in the district. Here youth migration happens from the state to abroad like Gulf countries, Europe and America. This in addition to affecting agriculture sector has social and cultural issues also. Kerala can be called as an old age home wherein parents are alone in most of the families. The main reason for distracting youth from Agriculture is lack of prestige in Agriculture profession. Number of enterprising entrepreneurs and labour force engaged in Agriculture is coming down, seriously affecting domestic food production. Agricultural development is possible further only through involvement of younger generations. There is increasing concern among general public over the safety of food purchased from market due to the awareness creation of media in recent times. The ill effects of pesticide contamination in vegetables, antibiotic residues in poultry meat, plastic coating on rice etc. were discussed extensively in recent times. Subsequently concepts of homestead farming and self food production (Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal husbandry) are getting vide popularity. There are interventions and popularization programmes promoted by Government and leading media encouraging farming. However, greatest problems faced by commercial as well as homestead farming are shortage of quality and reliable agro inputs and planting materials, lack of manpower, less knowledge on Good Agriculture practices, lack of assured market for products & value added products and less coverage of support systems. A network of established Agro enterprises including farming by selected youngsters can address the prevailing issues viz., shortage of quality bio inputs and planting materials, lack of manpower, less knowledge on Good Agriculture practices, lack of assured market for products & value added products and less coverage of support systems. Youth migration can also be reduced by giving rise to local employment.
Developing prestige for the Agriculture profession a way forward.
Pride and prestige to the profession would attract and retain youth in agriculture. Prestige to any profession comes only if steady income is ensured. This necessitates fairly good control over the market. Branding is essential to win market. Producer companies and federation of producer companies in a network mode is a proven way of controlling market by farmers/producers.