In-Depth Jobs

Volume-40, 30 December-5 January, 2017

Employment Opportunities in Vegetable Science

Dr. Beena Singh & Krishan Pal Singh

Olericulture or vegetable farming, a discipline of Horticulture, deals with the growing and marketing of vegetables. India is a world leader in the vegetable industry and is rapidly progressing with an expansion in technical expertization and management.  The business of growing vegetables now a days is a modern and global career option. The increasing demand for food means greater demand for more effective and efficient vegetable production through better awareness, science and management. Though India has emerged as a major producer of horticultural crops and the share of horticulture in the Indian economy has been increasing, there is still a lot of scope in harnessing the potential of this sector. The horticulture production of the country during 2016-17 is estimated to be around 287 million tonnes which is marginally higher as compared to 2015-16. Vegetables and fruits account for nearly 90% of the total horticultural production in the country. India is now the second largest producer of vegetables in the world and is the leader in several horticultural crops, namely mango, banana, papaya, cashew nut, arecanut, potato and okra (lady’s finger). The scenario of horticultural crops in India has become very encouraging. The availability of diverse climatic conditions in India acts as a major foot step for cultivation and expansion in the cropping area of horticultural crops especially vegetables.
The call for diversification in horticulture sector was accredited by the Government of India during the mid-1980s by focusing its interest on investment in this sector. Presently horticulture has established its reliability in improving income through increased productivity, generating employment and by enhancing exports. Resultantly, horticulture has moved from rural boundaries to a profit-making venture. The percentage share of horticulture output in agriculture has become more than 30%. Under the purview of agriculture and allied activities, the share of plan outlay for horticulture which was 3.9% during Ninth Five Year Plan, has increased to 4.6% during the Twelfth Plan. India has witnessed voluminous increase in the horticulture production over the last few years. Significant progress has been made in area expansion resulting in higher production. Over the last decade, the area under horticulture grew by about 2.7% per annum and annual production increased by 7.0%. Total horticultural production in the year of 2001-02 was 145.79 million tonnes and total food grains production was 212.85 million tonnes whereas in 2015-16 total horticultural production reached 283.47 million tonnes while the total food grain production was 257.07 million tonnes (NHB and DES). 
Despite the immense scope and numerous productive factors of vegetables in our country, the working capacity poses a major setback. At present the diet of an average Indian is ill balanced. It consists mainly of cereals. In general the yield-of vegetable crop is about 5 to 10 times more than these of cereals. On an average we consume 375 gm of cereals and only 30 gm of vegetables daily, as against 328 gm of cereals and 316 gm of vegetables. The dietitians recommend the consumption of at least 200 gm of leafy vegetables and 150 gm of root vegetables daily for balanced diet. Thus to improve our diet, we should necessarily increase the vegetable production. At present, more than 60 % of our population is engaged in Agriculture over an area of 320 million acres. Out of this hardly about 1-2 percent of the total cultivated area is under vegetable crops. This figure clearly shows the necessity of vegetable cultivation on larger area. Apart from the health improvements, the production of vegetables improves the economy of a country as these are very good source of income and employment. The contribution of vegetables remains highest (59-61%) in horticulture crop productions over the last five years. They are quick growing and shorter duration. Therefore it is time now, to take up the intensive and multiple vegetable cropping in India.
Agriculture/Horticulture as Career
The basics of agriculture and horticulture can be gained by the aspirants by choosing Agriculture/Horticulture as their career. Aspirant should have passed 10+2 (Senior Secondary Examination) with Physics, Chemistry and either Agriculture or Biology as their subject. Candidates qualifying in the written examination by the All India Entrance Examination of PAT (Pre Agriculture Test) are considered eligible for admission to the Under Graduate degree programme in the State Agricultural Universities (SAU’s). An undergraduate course in Agriculture/Horticulture takes 4 years for completion whereas; the post graduate/Master’s course is usually of two years. For PhD the basic eligibility criteria is a Master's degree in Agriculture/Horticulture or allied sciences and the other qualifications required may vary from one university to another. In order to get admission in the Master’s and doctoral degree programme, an All India Entrance Examination is to be qualified that is conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR)/State Agricultural Universities or get admitted on percentage basis.  
Most colleges do not conduct a separate course for Horticulture or Olericulture at the under-graduate level, but treat it as part of the academic curriculum of Agriculture. Students who have completed their graduation course in agriculture or horticulture have many careers prospective. More recently the students aspiring higher studies in horticulture can take up their degree as specialization in the Department of Olericulture (Vegetable Science), Floriculture and Landscaping (study of flowers, ornamental crops and gardening), Medicinal &  Aromatic Crops, Spices & Plantation crops, Pomology (Fruit Science) and Post Harvest Technology.
Who should choose
People interested in vegetable science as a career should be serene, logical and observant. They must be aspect oriented and precise in their work. As in any horticultural career field, a love for Mother Nature is essential. Vision and creativity along with physical stamina and physical precision will make candidates apt to work in this field. If engaged in the private sector and good verbal communication skills are essential for interacting with both suppliers and customers. Computer skills are helpful for placing supply orders, maintaining inventory records and doing book keeping for those intending to turn entrepreneurs and manage their own businesses.
Job Prospects
There is an immense scope of job prospects for an aspirant with promising quality education in various State Agricultural Universities. After graduation the student becomes eligible to be appropriate for employment offered by banks, finance sectors, seed companies, insecticide and pesticide companies, sales and marketing etc. The nationalized banks, Reserve Bank, State Bank, NABARD etc put forward an opportunity for post graduates in agriculture and horticulture as Agricultural Officers, Probationary Officers, Field Officers and Rural Development Officers. Different agricultural universities also employ horticultural postgraduates for distinct posts from the concerned field of their specialization as SRF’s (Senior Research Fellow), RA (Research Associates), TA (Technical Assistant) etc. However, for the posts of Assistant Professor/Scientist and other teaching and research and development posts, experience in the concerned field is a must and the candidates must qualify National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by UGC/CSIR/ICAR and hold a doctoral degree i.e. PhD. Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Department of Science and Technology (DST) also engage graduates every now and then. Students having a combined knowledge of olericulture with entrepreneurial skills enable them to get administrative or marketing positions with organizations involved in the processing and marketing of vegetables, they also get recruited in the companies as horticulturists, gardeners, supervisors, farm or estate managers, handling large-scale production of certain varieties          of vegetables in various private seed companies etc. Many fertilizer and pesticide companies engage agricultural/ horticultural students in their firms. In addition, at the International level, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation and some other agencies also appoints horticultural consultants.
Apart from above the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSlR), Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), National Seed Corporation (NSC), Ministry of Agriculture & Co-operation, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (both Government of India) etc. also engage the students as per their requirement.
The vegetable industry has spawned a number of supporting or service industries as well:
*Research: Many scientists are engaged in developing new and improved types of vegetables. Apart from improving the agronomic and nutritional qualities of plants horticultural scientists also devote considerable time to improve the aesthetics of ornamentals and the quality of products.
*Chemical Industry: The horticulture industry depends on varieties of chemicals, including fertilizers, pesticides and growth hormones. Many companies are involved in producing chemicals that are used to enhance plant production and the quality of produce.
*Machinery: The engineers, design and produce tool and machinery for use in the production of horticultural plants. These aids enable large scale production of horticultural plants to be undertaken.
*Distribution: Horticultural products are transported from the areas of production to marketing outlets. Because of their perishable nature, horticulture produce and product require special handling on transportation to retain their quality for a long time.
*Computer in Horticulture: Now, computers are widely used in the horticultural field. Special areas of computer application in horticulture include: designing plants, crop modeling and soil modeling equipment automation, public information, record keeping and database also Greenhouse automation and equipment calibration for automatic application of chemicals.
The undergraduate, post graduation and doctoral degree programmes in Horticulture/ Olericulture are offered by the Institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and in almost all State Agricultural Universities in India. Following is an indicative list;
1. Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Adminstrative Office, Rajendra Nagar, Hyderabad-500030, A.P.             
2. Agriculture University Jodh-pur Mandor, Jodhpur-342304 R.J.           
3. Agriculture University Kota    Borkhera, Kota-324001 R.J.         
4. Anand Agricultural University, Anand- 388110, Gujarat            
5. Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat- 785013, Assam   
6.  Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Mohanpur, Nadia-741252, West Bengal              
7.  Bihar Agricultural University, Sabour, Bhagalpur- 813210, Bihar       
8. Birsa Agricultural University, Kanke, Ranchi-834006, Jharkhand         
9. Central Agricultural University, P.O. Box 23, Imphal-795004, Manipur         
10. Chandra Shekhar Azad University of Agriculture & Technology, Kanpur-208002, Uttar Pradesh              
11. Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar-125004, Haryana        
12. CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, Palampur-176062, Himachal Pradesh    
14. Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli Distt, Ratnagiri 415 712, Maharashtra              
15. Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Krishinagar,Akola-444104, Maharashtra              
16. Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry Solan, Nauni-173230, Himachal Pradesh    
17. Dr YSR Horticultural University, Venkataramannagudem, PB No. 7, West Godavari Dist., Tadepalligudem-534101 A.P.       
18. Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar-263145, Uttarakhand
20. Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya Krishak Nagar, Raipur-492006, Chhattisgarh       
21. Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Jabalpur-482004, Madhya Pradesh      
22. Junagadh Agricultural University, Junagadh-362001, Gujarat           
23. Kerala Agricultural University, Vellanikara, Trichur 680656, Kerala              
24. Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture & Technology, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001
25. Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri-413722, Maharashtra
26. Manyavar Shri Kanshiram Ji University of Agriculture and Technology, Banda-210001, Uttar Pradesh           
27. Narendra Dev University of Agriculture & Technology, Kumarganj, Faizabad -224229, Uttar Pradesh           
28. Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari-396450 Gujarat         
29. Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, Bhubaneshwar-751003, Orissa   
30. Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad - 500 030       
31. Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004, Punjab      
32. Rajendra Agricultural University,   Pusa, Samastipur 848125, Bihar             
33. Rajmata Vijayaraje Sciendia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Gwalior 474002 Madhya Pradesh          
34. Rani Laxmi Bai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh           
35. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology Modipuram, Meerut-  250110 Uttar Pradesh        
36. Sardarkrushinagar-Dantiwada Agricultural University, Sardar Krushinagar, Distt Banaskantha, Gujarat-385506       
37. Sher-E-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Railway Road, Jammu 18009, J&K       
38. Sher-E-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Kashmir Shalimar Campus, Shrinagar-191121, Jammu & Kashmir              
39. Sri Karan Narendra Agriculture University, Jobner-303329, Rajasthan       
40. Swami Keshwanand Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner-334006,Rajasthan        
41. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore-641003, Tamil Nadu         
42. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, GKVK, Bengaluru-560065, Karnataka    
43. University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Dharwad-580005, Karnataka        
44. University of Agricultural Sciences, Shimoga, Shimoga, Karnataka   
45. University of Horticultural Sciences Navanagar Bagalkot 587102 Karnataka         
46. University of Agricultural Sciences PB 329, Raichur– 584101 Karnataka    
47. Uttarakhand University of Horticulture and Forestry  Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand        
48. Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavi-dyalaya           Coach Bihar-736165, West Bengal
49. Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agricultural University Parbhani-431402, Maharashtra
50. Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University, Rajendra Nagar Campus, Hyderabad   .
Dr. Beena Singh Assistant Professor/Scientist, Email: -beena.nair1985
Dr. Krishan Pal Singh Assistant Professor/Scientist,  IGKV, Jagdalpur, Bastar, Chhattis-garh, Email: - drkpsingh2010
Image: Courtesy Google