The Future of Agriculture Leaders in India (FALI), an initiative supported by leading agribusiness entities – Godrej Agrovet Ltd., UPL, Jain Irrigation, StarAgri, Rallis etc. – to make agriculture attractive for the next generation today kick-started its 9th Annual Convention at Jalgaon’s Jain Hills. Bringing together over 1,000 school children and grooming them into the future leaders of Indian agriculture and agribusiness, the convention which is hosted by Jain Irrigation will be held over two days. These standard 8 and 9 students from 155 government-aided rural schools in Maharashtra and Gujarat are the winners of business plan and tech innovation contests in their schools. The convention marks the culmination of a highly effective programme.
Having empowered over 13,000 students, the goal of FALI and the programme is to make agriculture attractive to the next generation. As part of the programme, rural students participate in interactive classroom sessions and practicums. They have regular field visits, webinars and FALI Innovation films to expose them to innovations in agriculture and agro-enterprise; and they compete in business plan and innovation contests, with the winners getting to go to the annual FALI Convention.
The Association for Future Agriculture Leaders of India is a Section 8 company. Its directors are: Nadir Godrej, Chairman & MD of Godrej Industries Ltd and Chairman Godrej Agrovet Ltd.; Rajju Shroff, Chairman of UPL; Anil Jain, Deputy Chair and CEO of Jain Irrigation which hosts the annual FALI Conventions; and Nancy Barry, President of NBA Enterprise Solutions to Poverty. The major CSR contributors to FALI are Godrej Agrovet Ltd, UPL, Jain Irrigation, StarAgri, Rallis and Omnivore, with several other leading agribusinesses and banks likely to join in supporting FALI this fiscal year.
Nadir Godrej, Chairman & MD of Godrej Industries Ltd and Chairman, Godrej Agrovet Ltd., who led the Working Group which created FALI and served as the Founding Chair, says: “Last year, when Godrej Agrovet Ltd. pioneered the FALI alumni internships, our managers were deeply impressed with the knowledge, maturity and passion of alumni who had just completed 12th standard, most exceeding performance of university students who have been interns at our company. We would be interested in hiring most of these interns when they complete their higher education.”
Over 95% of past students and their parents say that FALI already has transformed their attitudes toward agriculture as a career. They now see modern agriculture and agro-enterprise as an attractive future and they say that FALI has given them the tools that they need to succeed. Most students pursue higher education, mainly in agriculture, science and engineering, while continuing to influence practices on their family farms.
Rajju Shroff, who chaired the FALI 8 Convention, says, “I am deeply impressed with the knowledge of FALI students, the quality of their business plans and their passion for modern agriculture. With FALI growing by 25% a year, we will have over 250,000 alumni by 2031. These graduates will transform Indian agriculture.”
With over 33,000 alumni, this organisation has built internship, scholarship and venture funding programs for alumni which most companies that support the core FALI program fund directly. This encourages FALI students at critical points in their young lives to reinforce their knowledge of and commitment to agriculture and agro-enterprise.
Anil Jain, CEO of Jain Irrigation, says, “We are thrilled to be hosting once again the annual FALI Convention. It is truly rewarding to provide through FALI a unique opportunity to these young leaders to build their passion and commitment to transforming Indian agriculture and agro-enterprise. Our father went from a small village to build Jain Irrigation, and these students can do the same or more.”