Great opportunities in Horticulture boom

For professionally qualified horticulturists there are wide-ranging work options which offer handsome remuneration

With an annual growth rate of 30-35 percent, India’s high potential horticulture industry is belatedly blooming and is poised for a great leap forward with the opening up of foreign markets post the new World Trade Organisation accords and revolutionary advances in greenhouse technology. The entry of retail giants such as Reliance, Future, Foodworld and Walmart which have established multi-product retail chain stores inter alia offering farm fresh and processed foods to the fast expanding middle class countrywide has also given this high potential but hitherto neglected industry a big boost.

For admission into most B.Sc (horticulture) degree or diploma programmes, the minimum eligibility requirement is clearance of Plus Two in science or agriculture with at least 50 percent average. The minimum qualification for admission into a Master’s programme in horticulture is a 60 percent-plus average while graduating in the same or related streams. Admission into colleges and universities requires good grades in school-leaving and entrance examinations.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (Krishi Anusandhan Bhavan, New Delhi) conducts a pan-India entrance examination for admission into undergraduate courses in agriculture, horticulture, and allied sciences for 15 percent of the total number of seats in state agricultural universities and the Central Agricultural University, Imphal.

Among the most reputable universities and colleges for agriculture/horticulture are:

• Kerala Agricultural University, Vellanikkara, Thrissur
• Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli
• Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri
• Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, Parbhani
• College of Agriculture, Pune
• University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore
• College of Agriculture, Hebbal, Karnataka
• College of Horticulture, Rahuri
• Rev. Carey Institute of Horticulture, Kolkata
• Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan
• Central Agricultural University, Imphal
• G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar
• Gujarat Agricultural University, Sardar Krushinagar
• Institute of Agricultural Sciences, BHU, Varanasi
• University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad

For professionally qualified horticulturists, there are wide-ranging work options (including entrepreneurship) which offer handsome remuneration. They can be gainfully employed in agro-based industries, insecticides, pesticides, and fungicide manufacturing units; and state horticulture and forest departments. Moreover hotels, health farms, holiday resorts, and a growing number of office and residential complexes employ horticulturists to beautify their environments.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES. For Indian industry to rise to the new opportunities and challenges in agro-industry and horticulture, in 1998 the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) drew up a blueprint of a world-class Horticulture Training Centre (HTC) at Talegaon (near Pune) in collaboration with the Practical Training Centre of the Netherlands and The Netherlands Development Finance Company.

According to Dr. Suresh Dhumal, former director of HTC, there are huge employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in this industry. “Across the world there is a shift from traditional to commercial crops like biofuel. An imminent shortage in agricultural crop will compel developed countries to turn to India which has an edge in terms of natural and human resources. Within the next decade Indian horticulture firms will be a force to reckon with in global markets,” predicts Dhumal.
Better late than never!

(Excerpted from 101 Great Careers for the 21st Century by Indra Gidwani, 2016)

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