The government should provide the incentive under the condition that it would stop giving financial help if they quit agriculture any time during the five years.

T. Krishnamurthy, Head, the Department of Economics, Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara College, Ujire, said here on Sunday that the government should provide a monthly incentive of Rs. 5,000 up to five years to graduates who took up agriculture to lure youngsters to the practice.

On the second day of the seminar on ‘areca agriculture and culture’ at Bharathi College, he said the government should provide the incentive under the condition that it would stop giving financial help if they quit agriculture any time during the five years.

If the government provided a monthly incentive, agriculture graduates would be assured of some financial benefit till they settled into farming. Mr. Krishnamurthy said the children of farmers, particularly areca growers, after their graduation, drifted away from agriculture and looked for other jobs. They wanted to carve out a career in professions such as medicine and engineering and were not ready to take up agriculture. The professor said that many graduates, who belonged to agricultural families, upon getting employment forgot the fact that income from agriculture enabled them to graduate and pursue other professions. “They are forgetting the ladder they used to reach a higher standing in life,” he said.

Mr. Krishamurthy said that children of many areca-growing families, who were employed in foreign countries and other parts of the country, were settling down in those areas itself refusing to return to their villages. As a result, their aged parents had to spend the evening of their lives in villages without having anyone to care for them. “Their homes in villages are now becoming old age homes,” he said.

The professor said women from many farm families were not ready to marry men from agricultural families.

The professor said that areca plantations too faced several problems such as a shortage of farm labourers, skilled labourers, and uncertainty in markets. But there was no point in glorifying problems; instead challenges should be faced.

Mr. Krishamurthy said that Bharati College was organising the seminar to encourage some students to take up agriculture after their graduation.

The professor said that agriculture gave health and happiness to its practitioners.

Many student speakers at a seminar on ‘areca agriculture and culture’ at Bharati College said on Sunday that monkeys caused a huge loss to areca growers. The loss was unaccountable, they said. They said that monkeys ate ripened areca fruits and threw them wherever they liked.