Lie of the land Education

Entrepreneurship opportunities rise in agriculture sector

According to the Economic Survey 2020-2021, agriculture constitutes 19.9% of the gross domestic product (GDP), up from 17.8% in 2019-20. This is good news not only for the more than 150 million farmers of India but also for industries that are dependent on a good harvest for their survival.

Learn the ropes

With agri-entrepreneurship rising, it is advisable to look at various options within this field. There are short-term certificate courses, diplomas, or degrees in agriculture and agricultural engineering that cover soil science, agricultural chemistry, seed technology, and more. For those interested in a more advanced understanding, postgraduate degrees and research options are also available.

However, the foundation for all this is rooted in having studied Science (combinations of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths) in class XII. That does not mean students from a Humanities or Commerce background cannot become agri-entrepreneurs. While the latter can play a vital role in the management of an agri-based company, Humanities students can channelise their soft skills and understanding of social nuances to manage their business. In addition, they can always upskill themselves with many certified online modules to choose from.

The competitive edge

In recent times, with the emergence of novel concepts such as ‘precision agriculture’, ‘farm to fork’ and ‘farming as a service’, technology is playing a decisive role in this sector. Studying agriculture or a niche domain within it will help entrepreneurs achieve a competitive edge faster. Being a part of the agri-value chain can bring immense benefit to farmers, offering them better access to quality seeds, diverse irrigation systems, fertilizers, farm tools and equipment, to mention a few. The agri market in India already has many players and their numbers are rising. A NASSCOM study shows that the country has more than 450 start-ups in the agriculture sector that, until June 2019, raised nearly $248 million in funds.

Therefore, knowing the sector well will not only help entrepreneurs design a business model that is both feasible and suits their interest, but will also help them negotiate with fund managers with insights and scientific knowledge.

The writer is Managing Director Insecticides (India) Ltd

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 1:08:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/opportunities-in-agriculture-for-students/article34345042.ece

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