As the population of India rapidly multiples so does the need for food and its support systems – read farmers, manufacturers, processors, researchers, and educationists. Agriculture and farming have grown far apart in meaning since our school days when both the terms were interchangeable. The term agriculture now implies to the production processing, marketing and use of foods, fibers, and by products from crops and animals. According to a study on the agriculture sector in India, the total stock of agricultural human resources will be 474,000 and the private players will account for a lion’s share (almost 42 percent) of employment by 2020.
Agri based industries refer to industries dealing in corporate agriculture seed technology, plant biotechnology food processing agri marketing fertilizer and pesticide, organic farming, floriculture and banks. The industries coming up in the agri-space are many. Bio tech research, organic farming, export oriented, agricultural companies, animal breeding, dairy cold chain and logistics agriculture infrastructure, retailing, commodity trading, irrigation, fertilizer and pesticide companies, and other organizations dealing with microfinance and developmental programs are some of the sunrise industries. Furthermore poultry food processing and forestry are among the fastest growing fields. Farm machinery, agri-logistics energy (bio fuels) and seed industry are the potential sectors that will increasingly offer interesting options.
New research to increase production and productivity is the need of the hour. A lot of agricultural research in India is recognized by various research institutes across the world.
Many students exchange programs are being encouraged by various agricultural universities to get deeper insight from other countries too. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) situated at Hyderabad is an example of an international research organization in our country. It has been found that there is a large scope from strengthening education and research tie with institutes in Israel, Netherlands and the US.
The government not for profit organizations and private sectors including multinational companies are all possible employers. The many sub sectors or industries that offer careers in agri space include agri inputs production and warehousing agri-finance, trading, processing and food retail and food services The field also offers innumerable opportunities for entrepreneurs. The central as well as state governments offer a subsidy to agricultural land owners, tax payers and loan borrowers among a host of other entrepreneurs dealing in this field.
Academics in agriculture:
To study agriculture one must appear for a common entrance test and interview conducted by different states / universities / central institutes in the field to gain admission after pre university /class 12 in science, A master’s degree or an MBA is an advised follow up for those with a bachelor’s in the fields. The pre-requisites depend on which field of agricultural sciences one is applying to if you want to pursue a degree in agricultural engineering and meteorology then will need to have knowledge in mathematics or biological sciences.
At the master’s level one can further specialize in the areas of biotechnology, seed technology cultivation, pathology, microbiology, management and marketing. These specializations are available at the master’s, doctoral (PhD) and postdoctoral levels in national and international institutes. An MBA is required depending on the area of working on which one wants to concentrate.
A management degree is not really a must have at this juncture given the large demand for an agriculture and allied science graduate however, pursuing a management degree will almost always result in a better career.
Each state has agricultural universities which come under the Indian council of agricultural Research at the national level. There are also many private agricultural universities. Agribusiness Management is a two year postgraduates program. Candidates are selected based on group discussions and personal interviews, written tests, academic profiles and achievements, extra curricular activities etc. ICAR’s deemed universities Indian Agricultural Research Institute etc conduct separate entrance exams for their PhD programs. ICAR provides the fellowship to all its PhD scholars for three years.
Excerpts from Education Times