Tech advancements in agriculture offer new careers

According to experts, the future of agriculture will be dominated with the use of technology in all the aspects, from production to processing and logistics.

India has come a long way since independence to become a food self-sufficient nation. Although economic liberalisation has posed a big challenge to the Indian food industry, the advent of new technologies especially in agriculture education has created favourable conditions for smart agriculture to prosper in India. Smart Agriculture is paving the way to new career avenues for the millennials who can strengthen the country’s agricultural prowess by introducing the new technologies in this field.

Future of agriculture

With the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) permeating in our lives more than ever before, one can witness a paradigm shift in how agriculture is perceived today.  According to experts, the future of agriculture will be dominated with the use of technology in all the aspects, from production to processing and logistics. It is believed to become a norm rather than an exception. Considering this, the field of smart agriculture as a profession is bound to transcend in upping India’s employability rate.

From parochial wisdom and practices of yore to being at the forefront of technology and innovations, agriculture has moved forward by leaps and bounds. Agro-based economies like India are realising the potential of this field and the industry at large is booming with new career avenues. Some experts even call this transition “Agriculture 4.0”— a term used by the World Government Summit.

The upcoming change will lead to a wealth of career opportunities for skilled manpower capable of adopting new innovations and technologies. For example, food processing, which will be one of the focus areas of B Tech Food Technology programme, is emerging as a sunrise industry and is one of the 25 focus sectors of Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

There are several undergraduate and postgraduate courses that students can look forward to on the basis of their interest. At the undergraduate level, there are courses like Bachelor of Science specialising in Agriculture and Agronomy. For students with a more technical tilt, they can pursue a bachelor in technology programme in food technology. 

Mostly all the undergraduate programmes are of four years in duration barring the integrated Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with MBA in Agribusiness programme, which is for five years. For postgraduate students, there is a two year Master of Science programme which specialises in Agronomy. 

Students with Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology background are eligible to apply for the Bachelor in Science (honours) programmes but for the Bachelors of Technology programme, students from Medical or a Non-Medical background only are eligible to apply. 

For the postgraduate programme, a student is expected to have completed a Bachelor in Science or a Bachelor in Science with specialisation in agriculture degree in accordance to be eligible.

Considering, innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of a developing economy like India, the growth depends upon the ability to maintain innovative entrepreneurial performance. Startups are a new entrant in this space that is not only making its presence felt but is also creating a paradigm shift in the field of entrepreneurship.  

In a nutshell, the future for professionals in the field of smart agriculture is brighter than ever before with new technologies dominating the world that we live in.

Some of the advanced agricultural careers that will be in great demand are:

Drone technologists: They show farmers ways and means to increase yields and reduce crop damage using sensors, robotics and images from the air.

Hydrologists: They help protect the environment and promote sustainability while helping supply the world with clean, safe water.

Agriculture communicators and advocates: They engage with stakeholders to better understand their needs and interact with the normative group accordingly.

Food scientists: They help improve food products and create new ones using scientific principles.

(The writer is Vice Chancellor, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun)

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