FALI (The Future Agriculture Leaders of India) program has concluded its 8th Convention at Jain Hills in Jalgaon. In its eighth year, FALI has established itself as a unique, high impact program that makes agriculture attractive for the next generation by providing interactive learning, field visits, business plan contests, and exposure to cutting-edge agriculture and agribusiness.
In the last academic year, Future Agriculture Leaders of India provided its program to over 11,000 (eighth and ninth standard) students across 135 government-aided rural schools in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The number of FALI alums today totals 25,000, most pursuing higher education in science and agriculture and positioned to be future leaders of Indian agriculture.
Over its first eight years, Future Agriculture Leaders of India has received strong support from several leading agribusinesses of India: Godrej Agrovet, Jain Irrigation, UPL, Bayer and StarAgri.
At the Convention, these companies participated along with leaders of over ten other agribusinesses and banks interested in supporting FALI 9 and beyond. These companies concur that the results of Future Agriculture Leaders of India has shifted attitudes of students and their parents, who before saw subsistence farming as an unattractive career for their children. FALI students have taken home modern agriculture practices and with FALI, parents see modern, sustainable agriculture and agro-enterprise as a promising path for their children.
Over the next ten years, Future Agriculture Leaders of India is expected to increase the number of students and schools by 25% a year in Maharashtra and Gujarat, adding Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. At this rate, FALI would have backed creation of over 2,50,000 future leaders of Indian agriculture in the next few years. The Board in its recent AGM also agreed on programs for FALI alums, internships, scholarships and seed funding for FALI alumni ventures.
Commenting on the Board’s decision to expand the initiative’s reach, Nadir B Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Agrovet Limited, and Chair of the Association for FALI, said, “Despite registering impressive growth by the sector, agriculture in India is losing its sheen with the next generation. We need to overcome economic, social, and psychological barriers jointly. FALI’s efforts have steered over 11,000 students towards modern and sustainable agriculture in the last eight years. Today, as the Chair of the Association for FALI, I am delighted to announce our plans to expand the footprint of this innovative programme to three more states of India. It aligns with our commitment to promote sustainable agriculture and agro-entrepreneurship among the next generation.”
The program has received positive evaluations from students and their parents. Many students have improved their family farms, introduced higher value crops with irrigation, better livestock breeds, and accepted best practices such as soil and milk testing.
In evaluations, about 90% of students judge that they have become better equipped to succeed in farming and agro-enterprise after completing the programme. Over 90% of students plan to pursue higher education, and about 30% of alums are working in agriculture as they pursue higher studies. Nearly 800 alums have begun their own profitable agro-enterprises.
Partners of Future Agriculture Leaders of India support the programme with internships, scholarships and seed funding of ventures, making FALI a life-long experience for many.
At the FALI 8 Convention held in two parts on June 1 and 2 and on June 4 and 5, 2022 in Jain Hills in Jalgaon, over 800 of the top FALI students participated in business plan and technology innovation contests which was judged by senior managers of companies which do or plan to support Future Agriculture Leaders of India.
Outstanding alums who are pursuing their studies while building profitable agri-businesses or running impactful rural development programs participated in the FALI 8 Convention along with about 40 company and banking leaders who plan to support FALI 9 and beyond.
Future Agriculture Leaders of India students also engaged with progressive farmers who have moved from subsistence farming to commercial success through use of technology and sound business practices.