Future Agricultural Leaders of India (FALI), an initiative supported by agribusiness entities to make agriculture attractive to the next generation, is expanding its operations to States such as Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana.

FALI has been in operation in Maharashtra and Gujarat in several government-aided schools for over nine years now, providing technical knowledge and practical experience to students of class 9 and 10 in agriculture, agribusiness and related areas imparting them with technical, business and leadership skills.

Next 3 years’ plans

“We are starting in Indore in Madhya Pradesh in the upcoming academic year in July. We are deep into Maharashtra in 21 districts and in five districts of Gujarat. Over the next three years, we plan to go to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka,” said Nancy Berry, President of NBA Enterprise Solutions to Poverty, who is heading the FALI initiative.

FALI is working currently with 13,000 students in Maharashtra and Gujarat and has been attracting more number of students every year. A majority of the parents of FALI students are small farmers with under 5 acres of land and who rear up to five animals. It has an alumni base of over 33,000 students.

“Many FALI students go for higher education in agriculture and related subjects and have introduced improved methods into their family farms and villages,” Barry said. Companies participating in the initiative are providing internships, scholarships to FALI alumni besides helping them incubate their ideas through small venture funding.

Creating leaders

FALI is a section 8 company established in January 2021 and is led and supported by leading agribusiness entities such as Godrej Agrovet, Jain Irrigation, UPL, Omnivore, Star Agri and Rallis India among others. “We will expand this initiative to States closer to Maharashtra and then take it all over India. We want more members to be active. As we get more support we will spread all over India.” said Nadir Godrej, Chairman and Managing Director, Godrej Industries and Chairman, Godrej Agrovet Ltd.

“This initiative is all about creating leaders, who can become examples for others to follow in the villages and rural areas,” said Anil Jain, Vice-Chairman and CEO, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. “We wanted to bring about a thought process that agriculture is not just interesting, but it is worth investing and it can be treated as a business. The idea was to bring about an altogether different perspective to agriculture and we thought it could come only when you train young minds from the farming family” Jain said.

Practical and technical knowledge of agriculture besides business skills are imparted to FALI students during the two years of the programme. “We are asking them to come up with new business ideas. Also, we run competition on treating agriculture as business or any of the products and services linked to agriculture. Students who do well get invited at our headquarters in Jalgaon, where they get an opportunity to showcase their innovation” Jain said.