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Published in the 16-31 Oct 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Education & careers

Time-honoured, less chosen, careers–ii

AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES

"Jai Jawan, Jai kisan", " Green Revolution", and many more slogans & revolutions over the past century have proved again and again that agriculture is the key to India’s economic growth & sustenance. Over 70 % of Indians are engaged in agriculture. Years of R&D have given Indian agriculture the power to compete with world standards. It’s now more scientific, technical and increasing employability on a mass scale. Hence a huge demand for qualified people who can work in the field of agriculture, horticulture , floriculture, food processing and agro based industries year after year.

In a nutshell, a career in Agriculture and its related fields means " sowing the seeds, and reaping the harvest without waiting for monsoons since there is a monsoon all 365 days of a year."

Your career will have enough harvests and give India the strong foundation to work on and sustain the economy. No matter how advanced the lifestyle of people or their thinking a " humble farmer" is still the same person who needs the support of Agriculture Engineers to make his effort worthwhile.

Thus over the years one can see that there is a huge surge of young people in agricultural sciences and they find solace making historical R&D work and also gaining huge profits in return.

Introduction: In an agriculture career a person has to be actively involved in planting, harvesting, marketing and other aspects of field work. Horticulture involves doing research work on plants and is a very applied field. It is a science which includes floriculture or cultivation of flowers, cultivation of food, cultivation of vegetables. One can also be an Agriculture scientist, develop on Agri business and make a good Agri Industrialist involving machinery and equipment, food and allied industries like processing. With awareness about Agri benefits increasing, Agricultural Education, Agricultural Engineering & Agricultural Management have broadened the horizon of work & culture.
Courses offered 

Agricultural engineering 
Duration: 4 – 5 years . 

Eligibility: Pass in 12th under the 10+2 system or an equivalent exam with Physics, Chemistry, Maths and English.

BSc. – Agricultural Sciences. Duration : 4years

Eligibility : 
Pass in 12th under the 10+2 system or an equivalent exam with Physics, Chemistry, 

Biology/Maths and English or Agriculture Group. 

Important Note: Notification for Admission to Agriculture courses at various colleges / universities appear from January onwards, while the sessions usually start between July and September.
Selection : Minimum Aggregate of 50 per cent marks in +12 is set by many universities and also seats are allotted based on merit or performance in an entrance examination which includes Biology , Botany, chemistry, physics and mathematics

Reasons to join Agricultural Sciences?

  1. India's topographical diversity , variety of climate and abundant cheap labour gives it a natural advantage in agriculture and the agro business. Its greatest strategic asset is land. India is the second largest producer of vegetables and fruits in the world and has an equally strong floriculture base. 

  2.  Horticulture with its off shoot floriculture has become a focus of export activity. India's exports of roses, carnations, gladioli, chrysanthemums, jasmine and other tropical plants and flowers are touching new heights. In the field of fruits and vegetables too, India has tremendous export potential. 

  3. With the commercialization of horticulture and agriculture there are various opportunities for salaried jobs as well as entrepreneurship. Landscapers and horticulturists are hired by hotels, health farms, and holiday resorts to beautify their surroundings. 

  4.  Florists and nurseries are doing lucrative business especially in the metropolitan cities. Suburban farmhouses have become important suppliers for the domestic market.

  5. Research openings are also increasing as research institutes gear up to accept the challenge of the export market with the combined support of the government and the corporate sector. Openings for agricultural scientists are in institutions like the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and its affiliate the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research. Biotechnology and genetic engineering are also opening up new areas 

The Key Skills required for a career in Agricultural sciences. 

  1. Ability to work as a team. 

  2. Ability to sustain unpleasant work conditions, work in fields which sometimes may be dirty. 

  3. A good health & reasonable physical fitness for carrying out tasks related to business, industry and farming. 

  4. Diplomacy, positive attitude, good vocabulary and ability to handle science. 


    Job Prospects
    : The "Green Revolution " has increased job opportunities in this field. The Government is the largest employer of agricultural graduates. Job Opportunities are available to agriculturists in the following areas: 

  1. Openings in Government agencies, state departments of agriculture, banks like National Seed Corp., State Farm Corp., Ware-housing Corp., Food Corp. of India, NABARD, ICAR etc… Non Governmental organisations in the field of Agriculture also recruit specialists. 

  2. Specialists in the different related areas can find employment in organisations such as the Horticultural Board, the Dairy Development Board and others. 

  3. Self-employment : By setting up farms, production and marketing of food grain and other farming activities. But one needs to have good financial back up for huge investment and bear losses if any. Today many a horticulturalists have their own farms where they grow exotic flowers and vegetables, which they export, to a variety of places. Exotic and beautiful flowers are also now grown to export them. 

  4. Job opportunities also exist for scientists, professors and lecturers in various Agricultural Boards and Institutes. 

  5.  Horticulturists can find work in landscaping assignments with architectural firms. They are also engaged in export of flowers and fruits 


Further Education: P.G. level - MSc. : Agri Botany, Agri Biotech, Agri Economics, Agronomy, Agri extension, Soil Science, Forestry, Farming System Management.

MSc in horticulture offers specialisations in floriculture, pomology (cultivation of fruits), and olericulture (cultivation of vegetables). 

A Few colleges which offer Agricultural Engineering 

Marathwada Agricultural University , College of Agricultural Engineering, MAU, Parbhani. 

College Of Agricultural Engineering, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab. 

College Of Agricultural Engineering, Tamilnadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu

Indian Institute Of Technology, Kharagpur. 
G.B. Pant College of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, District Nainital (Uttar Pradesh) 

For the list of Agricultural Colleges, kindly mail us. Also any queries. Let’s know more and gain more.

Any queries? If you have any queries, kindly mail us. We will put the best solutions (not answers) for your career queries. 

Ameen-e Mudassar, Career Counsellor
MSW-Career Guidance and Information Center, Bangalore
msw_trust@yahoo.com

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