Binu P. Bonny, Head of Gender Studies in Agriculture at Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), said the Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical (KEAM) examination conducted by the Commissioner for admission to the undergraduate program offered by the university is a rank-based examination (CEE). “Women’s impressive performance in the exams is helping them enter agricultural education more than men,” Bonnie said.
Also, she argues that most women prefer to work near their hometowns. “Having a degree in agricultural education can help you get a job as an agricultural officer at the panchayat level,” said Bonnie. In addition to this, they are eligible to apply for various PSU jobs related to agriculture including various public banks.
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In 2020, out of a total of 457 candidates registered for BSc (Agriculture) in KAU, 359 were women. “Like BSc, female candidates were more likely to pursue Diploma in Agricultural Sciences (DASC), Diploma on Organic Agriculture (DOA), Engineering and Forestry courses,” Bonnie said.
A total of 41 female candidates were enrolled for DASc, compared to 10 male candidates. For the DOA, the male-female ratios were 24 and 6, respectively. “Women’s enrollment in UG, PG and PhD courses has been consistently higher at KAU since 2013-14,” Bonnie highlights.
Entrepreneurs vs. jobs
Narendra Singh Rathore, Vice-Chancellor, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology (MPUAT), Udaipur, says that despite the increase in the number of women candidates in various courses, entrepreneurs are less preferred.
Rathore said there are many reasons why women are less represented in entrepreneurship in society. “Lack of family support and family responsibilities as well as safety keep women away from choosing between jobs and entrepreneurship,” she said.
Citing government initiatives, Rathore said experts would also be needed to promote agribusiness, so job opportunities were expected to increase.
The central government is implementing various projects to develop agro-based employment in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare has launched a new initiative called Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurial Materials under the State Agricultural Development Plan – Economic Methods for Agricultural and Allied Sector Revitalization (RKVY-RAFTAAR) to create employment by promoting startups in agriculture and collaboration.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is providing various national / international scholarships to students at different levels to promote agricultural education and attract students to agricultural education.
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