The World Bank says 42 per cent of Indian ‘labourers’ are farmworkers. Unfortunately, a sector of this magnitude was till recently run on the logic of common sense. In the new age, it is proven beyond doubt that agriculture can be tuned to profitability by putting to use science and management.
Agriculture is a huge area of operation and any study on it should be sector-specific. The general principles applied to other spheres like construction cannot be used here. Agri-business management is one branch of study which has in its purview both agriculture and its economic and commercial aspects.
The tasks or general responsibilities of agri-business managers are broadly these:
Enhance productivity, improve market networks for farm products, devise new methods of marketing, and ensure capital flow and insurance coverage. These professionals should also scrutinise the agricultural economy and come up with new models of operation; enable the farming community to access and use the benefits of biotechnology; ensure the availability of seeds and ensure effective extension activities, and modernise the functioning of farms.
Agri-business managers are in demand in banks, public and private sector food distribution companies, financial institutions, farm equipment and pesticide manufacturing companies, and training institutes. There is also scope for consultancy.
Where to study
The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad, offers a prestigious Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Agri-Business Management).
The applicants need to have secured 50 per cent marks in a graduate stream that is agriculture or allied. Those with bachelor’s in humanities, pure science, humanities, economics, and medicine are also considered.
The other institutes offering agri-business courses are:
1. Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bengaluru: PGDM-Agricultural Export & Business Management
2. IIM Ahmedabad: PG Program in Food & Agri-business Management
3. IIM Lucknow: PG Program in Agri-business Management
4. IMS, BHU, Varanasi: two-year Master’s in Agri-Business Administration
5. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur: MBA in Agri-Business Management
6. Institute of Agri-Business Management, Bikaner, Rajasthan: MBA Agri-Business