"If you want to plan for a year,
If you want to plan for a decade,
If you want to plan for a generation,
Educate the people". - A Chinese proverb.
Monday 3rd December is an annual Agriculture Education Day and provides another opportunity for us to deepen the knowledge that abounds in this very exciting sector. Information and knowledge about careers in agribusiness will spread awareness to students and young people out there; employers and agropreneurs; the academia and education policy administrators; and the general public, to make the society better.
A career in agriculture does not always involve production farming. In fact, only a small percentage of the people who work in the sector, all over the world, are referred to as traditional farmers. The rest are gainfully employed in the more than 200 agriculture-related careers.
Modern agriculture is science-based, high-tech and offers a variety of career possibilities. We need to get this information across to our children, youths, and women, and even academic institutions, so that there will be a change in the negative perception of agriculture and a more concerted effort to develop agriculture, in all its ramifications, in Nigeria.
1. Agriculture Communications
An agriculture communicator provides information and ideas regarding the many areas of agriculture through the media: radio, television, magazines and newspapers, social media, etc. Agriculture communications specialists interpret agricultural science and policy information for distribution to the agriculture industry and the general public. There are a variety of careers that fulfill this mission: writers and editors of the print media (magazines and newspapers); the electronic media (radio and television) broadcasters; the social media content managers (websites, email, bloggers, etc); public relations and advertising specialists.
Professionals in this field are skilled communicators who effectively relay information about food, fiber, etc; the business of agriculture; and the environment to farm and non-farm audiences. Agricultural communicators are employed with: advertising firms; agribusiness firms; publishing companies; institutions of higher education; government agencies; electronic media companies, etc.
2. Agricultural Economics
Agricultural economists concentrate on the management and economic theory as it relates to the production, distribution and consumption of agricultural products. They are agribusiness professionals who perform leadership and management roles throughout the agribusiness industry in areas such as processing, marketing, merchandising and transportation.
These professionals are qualified to work on farms, in higher education and government agencies. Some fields that fall under the category of Agricultural Economics are: Farm Management; Agribusiness Management; Sales; International Trade; Finance; Resource Economics; Rural Economic Development; Food Industry; Crop and Livestock Marketing; Crop and Livestock Production; Public Policy, etc.
3. Agricultural Education
An agricultural educationist is trained in teaching agricultural theory and principles as well as practical applications. An agricultural educator, or teacher, organizes curriculum and creates and delivers programs to students on a variety of topics related to science and natural resources as well as traditional agriculture. Agricultural educators are knowledgeable in many areas of agriculture and therefore, are qualified to work for a variety of employers: Agricultural business; Cooperative Extension Service Agents; Government agencies; Primary and secondary schools; and Vocational schools and colleges.
4. Agricultural Engineering
Agricultural engineers apply engineering principles to the biological systems that produce and process food and fiber products. It is a career that combines creativity with practicality to solve problems relating to systems, processes and machines. This profession is integral in the conception, design and management of all mechanical aspects of food and fiber production.
Some specialized areas in this field include environmental engineering, machine systems engineering, biotechnology and food processing. An agricultural engineer may work for many types of firms including equipment manufacturers, environmental control systems, and public service agencies, producers, processing facilities, or consulting firms.
Biotechnologists use cellular and molecular approaches to genetically manipulate and improve agricultural plants, animals and microorganisms. Biotechnologists use genetic engineering, antibody and vaccine production, and fermentation technology in addition to many other innovative scientific techniques.
Biotechnologists are challenged to identify and clone favorable traits, develop new vaccines and use these tools to better understand the world around us. Most biotechnologists are involved in technical and research positions in several areas such as: Universities and colleges; Government agencies; Private industry.
(To be continued...)