As I am in agricultural profession so I would like to talk about agriculture. Agriculture is the main occupation of Indian people. Agriculture gives food which is the basic need of life. Without food it is quite impossible to survive. Human beings need doctor, engineer, accountant, mechanic, mason etc. occasionally but need agriculturist daily as he produces food which is required on day-to-day basis. Our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru rightly said that “Everything can wait but not agriculture.” This statement highlights the importance of agriculture in our life. Approximately 12% of Indian GDP is contributed by agriculture and its allied sectors. Over 65% population of India is involved in agriculture directly or indirectly. Agriculture is the largest sector in India which gives bread and butter to the people.
Scope of the subject: Agriculture course comprises specialized subjects like agronomy, horticulture, plant breeding and genetics, entomology, plant pathology, animal science, agriculture extension education, plant biochemistry, agriculture economics, biotechnology, food science, floriculture, landscaping, fruit science, soil science, agriculture engineering etc. After getting higher degrees like M.Sc. and Ph.D in the above mentioned subjects, scope of career opportunities increases. The M.Sc. and Ph.D degree can be pursued from India and abroad. In countries like US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, England etc. very high quality researches are conducted in the agriculture and allied subjects for improving the technologies and higher degrees offer scope of contributing in research activities. Marketing of agricultural produce is another aspect in the modern world. Higher degree in Agri-Business Management from reputed institutes offer scope to the students to be hired by the world’s leading MNCs and there is great scope for earning the handsome money.
Why to choose: As agriculture is the backbone of our civilization as food is one of the essential items without which all the activities will stop. A hungry man can’t do anything. Food provides the necessary energy to carry out all the other activities, hence, agriculture is quite necessary subject. Without agriculture, most of the food can’t be imagined. All the professionals, workers, service men, leaders, bureaucrats, common men, actor, singers, housewives etc. can do their respective works only if there is food intake. It must be surprising to know that Dr. Norman E. Borlaug from US was awarded Nobel Peace prize although he was an agricultural scientist and worked in agricultural science field. Due to his contribution in the development high yielding dwarf wheat varieties, food production increased tremendously and every belly was filled with food, so, there was peace in the world. It is a common saying that a hungry man is an angry man. More hunger, more anger, more chaos in the world. Therefore, agriculture and allied subjects are important subjects.
Who should choose: An ideal candidate who wishes to study agriculture and allied sector subjects should posses certain qualities like he/she must have interest in agro-based learning, should posses organized skills, should have ability to plan and conduct research activities, should have leadership qualities and capabilities, should be able to work in team and if needed lead the team, should posses managerial and communication skills, should posses numeracy skills to understand the role of economics in agriculture and allied subjects, should posses traits to work in fields, should posses the abilities to withstand the extremes of weather like hot, cold, rain etc. as the field workers have to face such weathers, should have tendency to tolerate dirt, dust and soil etc.
Career opportunities: After the graduation, if the students want quick job or quick buck, they can be employed in the banks as Agriculture Officer (A.O). As the nationalized or private banks provide agricultural loans to the farmers, agricultural graduates are required for ease of doing loan works. Banks also run Kisan Credit Scheme (KCS) and credit cards are provided in the form of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) and A.Os. are needed to understand the intricacies of the matter. State governments also give employment to the agriculture graduates as Agriculture Development Officer (ADO) or Block Development Officer (BDO) at the block level and Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) or District Agriculture Officer (DAO) at the district level. They can also be hired by agriculture based pesticide companies as marketing officers. If the students want to go for research work, they can pursue higher degrees like Masters, Ph. Ds. or PDFs (Post Doctoral Fellow) etc. After that, they can be employed by the universities as scientists, professors, extension workers, researchers, seed production specialists etc. Agricultural based Multi National Companies (MNCs) like Monsanto, Du Pont, Bayer, Cargill etc. hire them for carrying out research and development (R & D) works. City corporations and municipalities and realtors also employ agricultural graduates or horticultural graduates as Horticulture Development Officer or Landscape Development Officer for enhancing the aesthetic value of the cities. They can be employed as Subject matter Specialist (SMS) in Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Extension Officer, Field Officer, Farm Manager, Plantation Manager, Research Officer, Officer in Quality Assurance in related fields, Production Manager, Operation Manager, Manager in Fertilizer Units, Business Development Manager, Seed Technology Officer, Agri-Preneur, Food Processing Officer etc. B.Sc. Agriculture graduates can also appear in UPSC and State Public Service Commission competitions and can get different government jobs.
Your experience: As far as our personal experience is concerned I worked in different capacities. After finishing my M.Sc. degree, I worked as a farm manager on a private farm. After that, I worked as a landscape engineer in Saudi Arabia for the three years. I came back to India and I joined Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) as a Subject Matter Specialist for seven years. Now I am working as an Assistant Professor in a government agricultural university. I am involved in seed production of different crops at the university seed farm, so I am enjoying a lot as I am able to provide the quality and pure seeds to the farmers, who are the real food growers of our country. The farmers are real heroes who are feeding the whole Indian and the world population.
From where to get degrees: Degree in agriculture or allied subject can be obtained from college, university or institute. There are three central agricultural universities (CAUs), four deemed agricultural, dairy, veterinary and fishery universities and sixty four state agricultural universities (SAUs) in India. There is an apex and autonomous body at the centre which monitors agricultural research and education in India and its name is Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) headquartered at New Delhi on the pattern of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). ICAR conducts all India entrance tests for the admission in under-graduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) agricultural courses. In the central agricultural and deemed universities 100% seats are filled by the ICAR and in SAUs, 15% seats are filled by ICAR in under-graduate courses and 25% seats are filled by ICAR in post-graduate courses. In CAUs, under-graduate and post-graduate agricultural courses are offered whereas in deemed universities, only post-graduate courses are offered. The three CAUs are: (1) Central Agricultural University, Manipur (2) Rani Luxmi Bai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh (3) Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa (Samastipur), Bihar. The four deemed universities are: (1) Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi (2) National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, Haryana (3) Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh and (4) Central Institute on Fisheries Education (CIFE), Mumbai, Maharashtra. The famous and reputed SAUs are (1) Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana in Punjab (2) Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (3) University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad in Karnataka (4) Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT), Pantnagar in Rudrapur district of Uttrakhand and (5) Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), Hyderabad in Telangana.
Those students who want to study agriculture, veterinary, fisheries, forestry, dairy courses, they can appear for all India entrance test or state entrance after completing 10+2 or Intermediate Science (I.Sc.) or Pre-University Courses (PUC) as the case may be according to the states or boards. Those students who opted mathematics or biology or both can appear in entrance test. However, to study veterinary science, only those students can appear in the entrance test that had Biology in 10+2/I.Sc/PUC. After getting admission in agricultural universities, they have to complete the deficiency courses. For example, if the student had mathematics in 10+2, they have to study Biology in the first year. If the students had opted for Biology, then he/she has to do deficiency course of mathematics.
Conclusively, the students can pursue agricultural courses for employment and for improving the economic condition of themselves and of the nation.
Writer Bio: Afzal Ahmad, Nabha (Patiala, Punjab), Winner of International essay Contest for October, 2019.