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Career opportunities in Agriculture, Horticulture and Allied Service’s

by Vijay Garg
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Agriculture has always been the backbone of our economy as it contributed nearly 29.4% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). More than 64% population works in the agriculture and allied sector and provides food to over a hundred million Indian and raw materials for our industries. India also has enormous potential as an exporter of agricultural commodities which makes it one of the leading agricultural countries in the world. The varying climatic and demographic conditions offer a conducive environment for the cultivation of a large variety of agricultural products throughout the year. In recent years, the state of agriculture has improved a lot because of the use of state-of-the-art technology along with genetically modified seeds and cross-breed verities for high yield. Unlike the pre-independence era or to be precise pre-green revolution era of 1964 agriculture has no longer been practised in an unprofessional or classical manner, instead, it has become highly scientific, sophisticated and mechanized and consequently, very profitable too. The impact of agriculture is not only in the production of food grains, vegetables, and fruits but on so many agriculture dependents and allied industries which get their raw material from the agriculture sector. A good monsoon would drive the Sensex raging like a bull, while floods, droughts or other such calamities would bring it to a grinding halt or even worse downfall.
Horticulture, dairying and poultry farming are allied agricultural activities that have become economically viable opportunities today.
Aspirants can opt for a career option from any of the following areas in the field of agriculture and allied practices.
Agricultural Research
Agricultural Education
Agricultural Journalism
Services in Agriculture
Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural Management
Besides these areas in the agricultural field, the young Indian generation can also make a career in allied activities like Horticulture, floriculture etc owing to the fact that India is among the largest producers of vegetables and fruits in the world and has an equally strong floriculture base. Today India’s agriculture has become globalized and the idea of integrating Indian agriculture with the world economy is getting government support. India has enormous potential as an exporter of agricultural commodities ranging from mushrooms to flowers, spices, cereals, oilseeds, and vegetables to name a few of them. With the commercialization of agriculture and horticulture, there are varied opportunities for salaried jobs as well as entrepreneurship. While salaried jobs with various government and private concerns provide a regular income, entrepreneurship can generate handsome profits. Landscapers and horticulturists are hired by hotels, health farms, and holiday resorts to beautify their surroundings. Florists and nurseries are doing lucrative business, especially in metropolitan cities. Suburban farmhouses have become important suppliers for the domestic market. Horticulture with its offshoot floriculture has become a focus of export activity. India’s exports of roses, carnations, gladioli, chrysanthemums, jasmine and other tropical plants and flowers are scaling new heights. Careers in horticulture are interesting and inspirational as there is continuous development in the growing techniques of plants. With new varieties of plants being nurtured the progress of horticultural science is unprecedented. From decorative plants, medicinal plants, fruit yielding trees to flower-bearing plants, a horticulturist studies all plant types. In addition to studies of plant types, students in horticulture also need to study weather and soil conditions, plant diseases and their treatments, and the economic viability of each of these plants.
Opportunities in research are also increasing as research institutions are gearing up to accept the challenge of the ever-increasing export market with the combined support of the state and Central governments and the corporate sector.
Agricultural Research Service/National Eligibility Test Examination is conducted by the Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board or ASRB for filling up vacancies of Scientists of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institutes.
Considering all these opportunities candidates with the ability to work on one’s own as well as part of a team, good health, a strong back for frequent bending, indifference to unpleasant weather conditions, sometimes to dirty work, practical ability, good powers of observation to detect early signs of disease in plants, animals and poultry, ability to deal with the unexpected calamity and interest in scientific developments can make fortunes in this career. Whereas Researchers should have the ability to work for long periods with intense concentration,  a keen analytical mind, and a strong scientific bent.
Candidates with all or some of the above-given traits and  Basic training in agriculture offered as a Bachelor’s degree course of three to four years duration at all the agricultural universities in the country can do well in agriculture and allied fields.  The minimum eligibility required for admission to B.Sc (Agriculture) course is a pass in the plus two or equivalent examination with science or agriculture. Many universities fix a minimum aggregate of 50% marks to be obtained in the qualifying examination.
Admission to different universities may be based on merit or performance in an entrance examination. Notifications of the courses at various places appear from January onwards, while the sessions usually start off between July and September. More than 40 colleges offer the B.Sc (Agriculture) course, as also the M.Sc (Agriculture) course.
Some of the Designations and their Work area in the Field of Agriculture are:
Agriculturists: Agriculturists are scientists who have specialized in a specific field of agriculture. Their main objective is to produce food and fibre. Some of the specialization fields are Entomology, Agricultural Economics, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Animal Science, Food Science and Wildlife Management.
The minimum requirement to become an agriculturist is a B.Sc degree or a B.Sc (Agri) degree. 
Agricultural Engineers: Agricultural Engineers usually specialize in a specific field such as agricultural mechanization, soil conservation and the processing of food. Agricultural engineers often work in the field and are away from home for several days. The minimum requirement for agricultural engineers is a B.Sc degree in Engineering or Agricultural Engineering.
Agricultural Technicians: Agricultural Technicians lay emphasis on the practical aspects of agriculture. Specialisation fields for agricultural technicians are, for example, mechanical agricultural technology (the design of farming implements), agricultural extension services and research. Agricultural technicians can follow various diploma courses at a technikon such as the N.Dip. Agricultural: Animal Production, N.Dip. Agriculture: Resource Utilisation, N.Dip. Agricultural Plant Production, N.Dip. Agricultural Management and the N.Dip. Agricultural Research: Botany. 
Farmer and Farm Foreman: Farmers and farm foremen supervise, plan and organize all activities on the farm. Most of the farmers and farm foremen have no formal training, while others have certificates, diplomas and university degrees. 
Farmworkers: The duties of farm workers differ according to the type of farming.  Most of the farm workers receive in-service training, but the training centres of Kromme Rhee and Boskop offer various short training courses for male and female farm workers. People with disabilities can also follow the courses at Boskop Training Centre.

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