I am happy to see a sudden spurt of jobs in agribusiness. Is this boom expected to last?
To my mind, this boom is related to two factors. The government finds that it is politically wise to see that farmers shine along with India. At the same time, many companies now have the confidence and investment capacity to launch mega projects. Agriculture offers one of the few large investment avenues where the canvas matches their appetite. So, investment in agribusiness appeals to the corporate sector, and also has the government’s blessings.
The second reason pertains to developments on the World Trade Organization front. High subsidies to farmers in developed countries are expected to be phased out by 2015. The cost of production of agricultural commodities is low in India vis-a-vis many developed countries due to cheap labour and tropical weather. However, major agriculture exports do not happen due to competition with subsidized production outside. As the field levels, India will get a real chance to export. Aggressive involvement of the private sector will see the country address issues of low productivity levels, globally acceptable quality of produce and logistic bottlenecks, thus offering opportunities to become a global hub.
It looks as though we have just roused the sleeping giant and there is a long way ahead.
Almost every state has an agriculture university, New Delhi being one of the few exceptions. For states without such a university, a state quota exists in nearby states. Graduation in agriculture (BSc Agriculture) is typically a four-year course. After completing graduation, you may choose to pursue higher education in agriculture or agri/rural management. A postgraduate course in rural management can be undertaken even if you pursue graduation in any stream other than agriculture.
How is agribusiness management different from an MBA?
An MBA covers the fundamental principles of management related to marketing, finance, human resources, production management and so on. The context for each learning is usually urban and many times even overseas, as several famous authors on these subjects have done research outside the country.
In the case of agribusiness management, learning on fundamental principles of management is the same. The difference is that the bias here is always on their application in the context of agriculture, rural and allied industries. Two, a conscious effort is made here to familiarize participants with rural realities. Since the ethos, values and beliefs are drastically different between urban and rural areas, it is important to internalize them as they sometimes become the basis for decision-making in future.
If I choose a career related to agriculture, will I be required to stay in villages?
Job opportunities are available at district, state as well as metro levels. This depends on the role you perform. Usually, as one gathers more experience, s/he moves more and more away from interiors as responsibilities enlarge from a few villages to a few districts to a few states. Within four to five years, candidates who perform well start getting state-level responsibilities. Such responsibilities are typically handled from state capitals. So, in most cases, the actual stay in villages or even districts may be restricted to the first few years.
I am a senior professional with long experience in procurement of agri commodities in Africa. How can I find an opportunity in India?
Your experience is highly relevant and not so easily available. You may try to get in touch with the human resources divisions of all the retail organizations, commodity exchanges and trading houses that deal in agri commodities.
Ajay Gupta is CEO of ruralnaukri.com. Comments and feedback are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org