Agribusiness is an area of commerce that involves the processing, warehousing, distribution, marketing and retailing of the products used in agriculture. Agribusiness aims at streamlining farming operations so that the prices remain at equilibrium. It encompasses farm planning, weather forecasting, research, soil management, seed production, machinery, plant protection, crop nutrient management, harvesting, marketing of produce, storage, supply chain operations, financing, food processing, retailing and much more. All the activities ranging from farm planning to getting the food to the table are a part of Agribusiness.
India’s agriculture industry makes up about 17.5 percent of the country’s GDP. It is considered the backbone of the Indian economy. One of the largest employers, agriculture satiates the food and nutritional necessities of the nation and produces important raw materials for several key industries. However, the sector also faces several challenges owing to the following reasons:
- The swiftly changing and expanding business environment
- The fast changing pace of technology
- The side effects of globalisation
- A competitively charged environment
- The ever-changing government and its roles
Currently, the agricultural sector is of high commercial importance and has evolved from low-level farming to commercial farming.
In India, out of the total food products, only 14 percent is processed and about 35 percent of the food is expended during packaging and transportion.
This led to the growth of a new sector called Agribusiness which has generated the need for skilled agribusiness professionals. It has made Agribusiness management a hot career option for the youth.
The importance of Agribusiness education
In India, about 20 to 30 per cent crop is wasted each year due to spoilage, floods, pests, diseases, improper handling, and lack of awareness about post harvest technologies.
In a developing country like India, the agri-business sector has emerged as a field of prime importance. Organisations in all sectors i.e. public, private, and cooperative, are looking to hire competent and well trained professionals and agribusiness managers.
The field opens up several avenues for those who hold a degree in Agribusiness management. A career in Agribusiness can open doors to a plethora of industries such as farming, real-estate, retail marketing, food processing and food production.
From livestock, farming to human nutrition, food production, Agribusiness covers a significant number of careers globally.
Job Roles in the Agribusiness industry
- Crop Producer: A crop producer is an agricultural practitioner. He works for and/or owns operations that are involved in the growth of crops
- Agricultural Analyst: The job of an Agricultural Analyst is to service the current clients and simultaneously create new opportunities within the agribusiness market. Liaising with the clients is also a major part of the job description. It involves helping the client meet their banking needs from buying new property to purchasing equipment.
- Market Analyst: The responsibilities of a marketing analyst in Agribusiness are not very different from their counterparts in other industries. The responsibilities include researching consumer behaviour, exploring the market trends and opportunities, collecting and analysing data based on consumers and competitors.
- Agribusiness Marketing Coordinator: A job description of a marketing coordinator involves marketing of products by developing and executing marketing campaigns, tracking sales data, planning meetings and trade shows, maintaining the inventory of promotional material, maintaining databases and preparing reports.
- Quality Controller: The role of the Quality Controllers or Quality Control Inspectors includes reading blueprints and specifications, monitoring the existing operations to ensure production standards are being met, and inspecting, testing, or measuring materials and/or products being produced.
- Farm Appraiser: When farm loan is being sanctioned, the appraisal is done by an approved Farm Appraiser. The Farm Appraiser is a state-licenced officer who is trained to give expert opinions regarding the values of agricultural values
Industries that hire these professionals
- Food Production Companies
- Farming Industries
- Public & Private Sector
- Marketing Industries
- Retail Industries
MBAs can get placed as research analysts and marketing managers in these industries. Food retailing is another sector which offers a gamut of career opportunities.
On the other hand, an Agribusiness career in the government sector offers way to many career opportunities that are different from those in the private sector. The degree holders can acquire managerial positions in the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Another government organisation that offers career opportunities to Agribusiness postgraduates is Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The course curriculum of MBA Agribusiness programme involves the study of marketing and production of agricultural products and is a gateway to the Food and Health department with the Government after clearing a qualifying exam. Jobs can also be found at the Ministry of Agriculture under Government of India.
Roadmap to the Agribusiness Management world
Several agro based companies hire MBA graduates in Agribusiness and offer long term, stable careers. Agriculture holds an important position in the economy of all the countries. Settling for a long term career in the domain of Agribusiness Management is not a difficult job. Fresh management graduates can be recruited as trainees and can later be promoted to senior positions after gaining experience.
Authored by Dr. Amol Gawande, assistant director, placement, Global Business School and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil University.