I would like to know about the scope of professional courses in agriculture, including course details and job opportunities.
Agriculture is the major contributor to Indian Economy. Around sixty per cent of the workforce in the country comes under the agricultural sector.
Several agricultural universities in the country provide higher education and research facilities to meritorious students. B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes in agriculture are available.
Thirty-four State agricultural universities, four deemed universities and three Central universities in the country offer undergraduate programmes (B.Sc.) in agriculture. B.Sc. agriculture course of four years’ duration is offered by all agricultural universities. Admission is open to meritorious Plus Two holders who have studied science subjects, including biology. Selection is through an entrance examination.
M.Sc. agriculture courses are offered to meritorious graduates in agriculture. Specialisations include agronomy; agricultural entomology; agricultural extension; plant breeding and genetics; plant pathology; soil science and agricultural chemistry; agricultural economics; agricultural meteorology; plant physiology; agricultural statistics; horticulture; and home science (food science and nutrition).
The College of Agriculture, Vellayani P.O., Thiruvananthapuram – 695 522 and the College of Horticulture, Vellanikkara, KAU P.O., Thrissur – 680 656 (both under the Kerala Agricultural University) offer M.Sc. agriculture in the above specialisation areas. Selection is on the basis of an entrance test. Graduates in agriculture are eligible to appear for the entrance test.
Ph.D. programmes in agriculture are also available at these colleges in the disciplines of agronomy; agricultural entomology; agricultural extension; horticulture; home science (food science and nutrition); plant breeding and genetics; plant pathology; soil science; and agricultural chemistry. Detailed information can be obtained either from the web site www.kau.edu or from the colleges concerned.
ICAR’s entrance test
The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, annually conducts an all-India level entrance examination for admission to undergraduate and Master’s programmes in agriculture and allied subjects. Those clearing the test will be eligible for admission to 15 per cent seats in B.Sc. agriculture and horticulture; B.Tech. agricultural engineering and dairy science and technology; and so on in the State agricultural universities. Those who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examination with at least 50 per cent marks in physics, chemistry and biology or mathematics are eligible to appear for this entrance examination.
ICAR’s postgraduate level entrance examination is conducted for admission to the Master’s degree programmes in the field of agriculture and allied sciences and for awarding ICAR’s Junior Research Fellowships. All the seats for the Master’s degree programmes in agriculture at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and 25 per cent seats in the State agricultural universities (including the Kerala Agricultural University) and Central agricultural universities are filled through this examination.
Graduates in agriculture or allied subjects with at least 60 per cent marks (55 per cent for candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes categories and differently abled candidates) are eligible to appear for this entrance text. ICAR provides scholarships in the form of junior research fellowships and senior research fellowships (SRF).
Some of the agriculture universities offering M.Sc. agricultural courses are the following:—
•Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore – 641 003 ( www.tnau.edu)
•Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana – 141 004 ( www.pau.edu)
•Chowdhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar – 125 004
•Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Raipur – 492 012
Some agricultural universities in the country offer seed science and technology at the Master’s and Ph.D. levels. Meritorious graduates in agriculture are eligible for admission. Since the seed industry is growing very fast, it offers bright job prospects in the government and private sectors.
The following Agricultural Universities offer this course.
•Chaudhary Charn Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar – 125 004 ( www.hau.nic.in)
•Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad – 500 030 (AP) ( www.angrau.net).
•Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture and Technology, Kanpur – 208 002 (UP) www.csauk.ac.in.
•Jawaharlal Nehru Krishivishwa Vidyalaya, Jabalpur – 482 004 (MP)
•Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana – 141 004
•Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore – 641 003 ( www.tnau.ac.in)
•Kerala Agricultural University, Vellayanikkara, Thrissur – 680 654 ( www.kau.edu)
M.Sc. agri biotechnology courses are offered by some agricultural universities, including the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. Selection is based on the all-India level combined biotechnology entrance test conducted by Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi ( www.jnu.ac.in). Job prospects are bright for agricultural bio technologists.
The Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) at Ahmedabad and Lucknow are among the few institutes which offer the two-year postgraduate programme in agribusiness management. The programme is specially designed to transform young men and women into competent professional managers for agriculture; food and food processing; agribusiness; rural; and allied sectors. The programme curriculum has a solid managerial foundation and focuses on the food and agricultural market.
Meritorious graduates who have successfully completed professional courses and postgraduates in agriculture or related disciplines are eligible for admission. Selection is based on Indian Institute of Management-Common Admission Test (IIM-CAT) scores. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, also conducts an MBA programme in agribusiness management. ( www.kau.edu)
Agricultural meteorology deals with the influences of weather on crop and animal husbandry. It helps to study the crop-weather relationship and forecast yield and to develop weather-based agro advisories to sustain crop production by utilising various weather forecasts and climatic forecasts. Master’s and doctoral level professional programmes in agricultural meteorology are being offered by some agricultural universities.
Kerala Agricultural University Vellanikkara, Thrissur; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore; and GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pant Nagar (UP) offer this course.
Agricultural meteorologists can find job opportunities in academic field, research and development organisations, ICAR and so on.GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM