SOME might perceive agriculture as a career that is unglamorous, labour-intensive, low-tech, and one that doesn’t guarantee much in terms of economic returns.
However, agriculture today has evolved from traditional, subsistence farming to a modern, knowledge-driven sector that has diversified into commercialisation through agriculture-based businesses.
Additionally, with climate change and a booming world population (9.3 billion is predicted by 2050), agriculture will be even more relevant and vital in providing sufficient and nutritious food supply.
By creating greater awareness on this situation, governments around the world are attracting more young people to participate in agriculture, as a response towards addressing the ageing population, youth unemployment, and rural-urban migration.
By providing educational opportunities, start-up resources, market information, and access to technology, governments are intent on building a new generation that can contribute to agricultural productivity and development through innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
In fact, more and more youths from both developed and developing nations are beginning to welcome the idea of having careers in agriculture, be it in development research, environmental science, agricultural engineering, ICT, finance, marketing or other relevant fields.
If you’re interested, you could also opt to start your own agribusiness that not only generates income for yourself, but also helps local farmers and communities, and creates job opportunities for other youths.
There’s even an international network of young agricultural practitioners called the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development, which aims to promote innovation in agricultural development.
For Sarawak, the future of its agriculture sector is promising, with Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg presenting his vision for the state to become a net exporter of high quality agriculture products that meet the needs of both the domestic and global markets.
In his keynote address at the International Conference on Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sarawak (ICAAS) 2017, he noted that achieving this vision will require the transformation of the agriculture sector.
This means overcoming various issues including, among others, low technology applications, an incomplete supply chain, a fragmented market, and low household income.
However, these issues could also be perceived as opportunities, and therefore as young Sarawakians, you should consider delving into agriculture as a career and be part of the solution to challenges facing our home state.
Not only will you lead the innovative and technological revolution in transforming Sarawak’s agricultural processes and practices, you will also be future players in contributing to the state’s socioeconomic growth and improving the income and wellbeing of your fellow Sarawakians.
This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak-to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.