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This paper has looked into the concept of value chain system in a different perspective, viewing capacity building of farm workers similar to human resource development. The agricultural sector, which was agricultural labour surplus has become labour deficit due to its migration to non-agricultural sector for better employment and higher income. On the other side, in the total cost of cultivation of paddy (Cost A1), almost 50 percentage has been the labour cost. Under this situation, Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) initiated a novel programme in 2008 with the aim of effective utilization of educated unemployed youth of Kerala for promoting mechanization in paddy farming by constituting a group called Food Security Army (FSA). The intervention to organize, train and assure the supply of labour to the agricultural sector has resulted in better living conditions of the FSA members. Apart from considerable socio-economic upliftment of these members, the intervention could facilitate the increase in the coverage of paddy cultivation in Kerala. The annual income per member upon joining FSA has been found one-and-a-half times of what they were earning earlier, from Rs 333/day (average for male and female) to Rs 448/day (up by nearly 35%). On hourly basis the rise has been found 20 per cent which is due to difference in work hours per day. Further, they could get work for 7 (range of 6-9) months in a year, which is up by 17 per cent. Though the current signals project a prospective future, some potential threats are to be considered. The programme has created additional income for their better livelihood, but in some cases it may prompt them to leave the profession to move up further on the economic and social ladder. Therefore, there should be a continuing programme to build up the capacity to make good of the exit.


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