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Agriculture studies can open new career paths

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COIMBATORE: Agriculture is not just about crops, seeds, harvest, pesticides and yield. It also includes trading, funding, feasibility studies, food processing, marketing and economics. If the prospect of getting into the management or business side of agriculture interests you, then the relatively new course B.Sc in Agri-Business Management is the course for you.

Introduced in 2007 by the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) based on feedback from industrialists, the four-year course is a mix of business management and agriculture technology. “Whenever we had industrialists visiting our campus, they expressed the need for people who know about business and agriculture so that they could help develop business strategies,” says K Mahendran, professor, department of Agricultural and Rural Management. The course has a mix of business and management and agriculture technology courses. “Around 70% of our subjects are based on business management and the other 30% of the subjects are based on agriculture technologies,” he says. Students who have taken the science stream can apply with their mark sheets. Some subjects students will study are micro-finance, banking, cost-analysis, supply chain management, packing and marketing of agri inputs and products among others.

With the seed, fertilizer, food processing and commodity trade industry growing by the day, more such professionals are required by the industry, says Mahendran. “Our students are taught the basics of availability of various products, manufacturing processes, costs involved, sourcing and even export processes,” he adds. Such students also seem to be in great demand in the banking industry.

“With the Reserve Bank of India telling all private and public sector banks to keep aside at least 30% of their lending for agriculture or agriculture based industries, employees with agri-business knowledge are in demand,” he says. Students in banking are required to evaluate projects, look at the credibility of the proposal, do risk analysis and scrutinise agriculture loans.

The course is also offered at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karanataka and the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, Andhra Pradesh.

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