Agropreneurship among Gen Y in Malaysia: The Role of Academic Institutions

Agropreneurship among Gen Y in Malaysia: The Role of Academic Institutions

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2165-5.ch002
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Despite great concerns regarding food security and the need to maintain a continuous food supply for an ever-increasing population, the agriculture sector remains an unattractive employment option, especially among younger generations. The big question is, “who should play a greater role in giving this sector young talents that are needed for successful agriculture and how it should it be acquired? Research has shown that this sector is dominated by an aging community of farmers who lack the innovative skills that is needed for running a new and modern agricultural industry. This chapter provides a brief overview of the importance of the agriculture sector and agropreneurship and is followed by why the involvement of the Gen Y segment is crucial for the growth and development of this sector. Since the basis for agropreneurship development among today's youth is based on training and inculcating an agropreneurship work culture at the university level, the authors proposed roles an academic institution could play in instilling positive an agropreneurial attitude among Gen Y graduates.
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Agriculture Sector And Why It Matters?

In many parts of developing world, agriculture production is recognized as a strategy to improve a nation’s standard of living, particularly to increase income, reduce hunger, and contribute to the improvement of other measures of well-being (Owens, Hoddinott, & Kinsey, 2003). Agriculture is also acknowledged to contribute significantly to economic growth in many countries (Bairwa, Lakra, Kushwaha, Meena, & Kumar, 2014; Diao, Hazell, Resnick, & Thurlow, 2007; Razak et al., 2015). Furthermore, agricultural growth is seen as precursor to the industrial revolutions that spread across the temperate world, from England in the mid-18th century to Japan in the late 19th century. Higher agricultural productivity that generates an agricultural surplus open to partial taxation and is used to finance industrial development as well as enabling lower food prices for the masses underpinned the success stories of industrial and structural transformation.

Agriculture also plays a substantial role in providing employment opportunity and poverty reduction. It accounts for 32 percent of total employment globally and 39 percent of employment in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific (International Labour Office, 2014). The sector has been acknowledged to be a major contributor to poverty reduction, as is found in countries such as Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mali, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Tunisia and, not forgotten, Malaysia (Cervantes-Godoy & Dewbre, 2010) among others in Asia and the Pacific (International Labour Office, 2014; Kuldilok, Dawson, & Lingard, 2013). Similar scenario is also seen in many developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia, where agriculture sector does not only play a significant role in contributing the countries’ food supplies but also provides other benefits such as improved physical and mental health, improved aesthetics, community building, employment opportunities, improved local land prices, and etc. (Mok et al., 2014).

On reflection, agriculture today is no longer a sector for poor people only. For instance, Thailand has gained its competitive advantage by dominating world exports of canned tuna with a market share of around 40 percent, which is at least four times higher than any other exporter (Kuldilok et al., 2013). Many other developing countries have benefited from agriculture not only to have sufficient food to maintain normal health for a growing population but also to increase the nation’s economic standing (Bairwa et al., 2014; Diao et al., 2007; Razak et al., 2015). There seems to be no compelling reason to argue for the economically inferior state of agriculture sector in shaping the country’s economic condition. With agribusiness’ increasing technological sophistication, as is found in developed countries, agriculture can appeal to younger generations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Gen Y: Young people who were born between 1977 and 2000. Also known as Millennials, Nexters or the Nexus Generation, or Echo-Boomer.

Agropreneurship Education: Formal pedagogical agribusiness programmes or process of education for agropreneurial attitude and skills which involves certain personal agropreneurial qualities.

Agriculture: The broad field that includes efforts of farming, planting, fisheries, and downstream agro-based and agro-processing industries. In Malaysia, agriculture involves plantation and food crops, horticulture, aquaculture, livestock husbandry and all other related activities.

Graduate Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship business activities that are run and managed by graduates who have graduated from higher education institutions.

Agropreneurship: Entrepreneurship activities practised by individuals who own goals to create wealth by applying innovative skills within the agriculture industry.

Academic Institutions: Higher educational institutions dedicated to education and research, which grants academic degrees the students.

Academic Institution Agropreneurship Support: The tangible and intangible assistance provided by the academic institution in fostering agropreneurship business activities among students including concept development support and perceived business development support.

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