Friday, 1 July 2016

Career Opportunities in Agriculture.

By  Arinze Onebunne

During the first half of the twentieth century, agriculture was mostly limited to farming, and preparing for a career in agriculture was fairly easy. People did not think that a formal education was necessary for a farmer. Today, successful people who work in agriculture need a good education in business and in science. Over the years, the number of farmers in Nigeria has declined dramatically, yet agriculture remains a major source of jobs for our people. Agriculture professionals are not just farmers and ranchers. Opportunities in this field include areas as diverse as science, engineering, finance, marketing, and exporting. Careers in these areas have expanded as the production and processing of food and fibre have become more specialised and technological. Successful producers rely heavily on the support of these workers. Individuals working in agriculture today are as likely to work in the city as on the farm.

The business of agriculture, or agribusiness, should be an important part of any progressive nation’s economy. Million workers are employed in processing, storing, and distributing the food produced by farmers. Agribusiness also involves manufacturing and selling farm supplies and equipment. The continued success of agriculture depends on the support of this entire network of people who enable the producer to function more efficiently. It is their initiative and hard work that make modern agriculture attractive.

Plant science

Plant science deals with the growing of fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. Career opportunities in plant science vary widely, but all of them are involved in producing plants. The main categories in plant science are horticulture, agronomy and landscaping. The production of field crops requires the expert knowledge of many scientists. Agronomists provide producers with information about the combination of soils, plants, and climate that will promote the best possible yield. Entomologists provide information about pest control. Crop scientists work to increase the yield of crops by improving farming methods and developing new plant strains.

Animal science

Careers in animal science are involved with many phases of animal production. These professions include producers, feeders, marketers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. They may also include producing pharmaceuticals or equipment that aid in the management of animals. The intensive health practices that are necessary to maintain a successful operation in piggery, poultry, cattle ranching or dairy farming provide many job opportunities in animal husbandry. Geneticists look for ways to develop high growth rate animals that result in quality products that meet consumer standards.

Food science

The food industry is one of the largest industries in the nation. It offers a wide range of opportunities because of the variety of operations and services it performs. Only a small portion of the foods we consume are fresh. Most have been processed by the time they reach the local supermarket. Before the food product can be sold to the consumer it must be processed, inspected, packaged, labelled, stored, and transported. All of these jobs are part of the extensive processing of food products, from the time the crop is harvested until it reaches the consumer.

One of the main purposes of processing foods is to keep them from spoiling. Processed foods are canned, waxed, dried, frozen, bottled, and pickled to preserve them. Another purpose for processing is to enhance the nutritional value of the food.

Careers in meat processing often deal with the protection of processed meats. Microbiologists lead the way in food safety research. They help the industry find ways to prevent bacterial growth. Food chemists work in the meat industry to ensure healthy, tasty products. They may study the chemistry of fats in chicken skins to help reduce the cholesterol in human diets or the muscle chemistry of meats that causes so much.

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