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GUIDANCE PLUS

All about plantation management

B. S. WARRIER

Plantation management could be a good option for those who seek to explore a niche area in the vast domain of management studies.

Photo: K. K. Mustafah

GREEN VISTAS: Vast estate expanses like this one will be the domain of those who specialise in plantation management.

It may be argued that plantation management represents a relatively small segment of specialised study in management education. But India's plantation sector plays a key role in the national economy. It employs nearly two million people. India is the largest producer of tea in the world. We are the fourth largest producer of natural rubber, and the sixth largest in coffee. There is room for improvement in any human endeavour, and plantation management is no exception. As an instance, the unpleasant fact that the average cost of production of a kilogram of tea is the highest in India compared to those in other countries has to be addressed. The case of faulty, improper or inadequate soil management leading to poor productivity in coconut plantations is perhaps similar.

There can be scientific reforms aimed at modernisation of the sector embracing structural changes through the services of trained experts. There may be the need for judiciously merging diverse elements such as technological initiatives, financial parameters, commercial decisions, and managerial strategies.

Widening the global market and the simultaneous enhancement of production and cost efficiency have to be systematically planned and implemented, in view of the potential for generating high income. Production has to be linked to marketing possibilities. Perhaps joint ventures with foreign countries have to be thoughtfully evolved and organised for our benefit. The plantation sector often passes through traumatic times, needing special support for sustenance, despite its enormous scope in making impacts in foreign markets

Taking into account the need for modernisation of the plantation sector through management education and training, the central Ministry of Commerce initiated steps for the establishment of a quality business school to cater exclusively to this sector. Consequently, Indian Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM) came into existence in 1993 under the sponsorship of Coffee Board, Tea Board, Rubber Board, Spices Board, and Plantation Associations. (Indian Institute of Plantation Management - Bangalore, Jnana Bharathi Campus, Malathalli, Bangalore - 560 056; Ph: 080-23212767; web site: www.iipmb.edu.in; e-mail: admissions@iipmb.edu.in). This has grown as a centre of excellence in the field.

The key element in the teaching model in this institution is its close and continuing interaction with the industry, including the corporate and grass-root institutions in the plantation sector, related agro-industries and various development agencies.

The institute speaks of its "Reach Out Model", and BEST manager themes (Behavioural, Economic, Strategic, Technical).

In order to meet the future talent requirements, the institute offers a long duration course, Post Graduate Diploma in Agri-Business & Plantation Management (PGD-ABPM). Further, it conducts need-based Short Term Executive Programs for the benefit of professional managers and owner managers. These programs are designed to provide new techniques for effective handling of managerial and operational issues.

The institute focuses on research on policy and managerial issues related to specific commodities, specific areas (marketing, finance, human resources, etc.), and management theory.

Global competitiveness of the plantation industry, productivity & quality, market intelligence, commodity information grid, rural empowerment, sustainable plantation management, and corporate ethics are typical themes of study.

PGD-ABPM

This 15-month program primarily aims at providing management education to the entrants in the agri-business and plantation sector. It caters to the needs of grass root action and global competition, and develops talented managers to function as captains of the industry in future. Gifts of the IT revolution are invoked to enhance the efficacy of the program.

Course structure

Foundational Courses (Classroom) 11 weeks

Field / Industry Visits 5 weeks

Functional Area Courses (Classroom) 11 weeks

Integrative Courses (Classroom) 11 weeks

Corporate Training Segment 11 weeks

Special Focus Areas (Classroom) 11 weeks

Subjects covered

A wide variety of subjects that are required in the efficient discharge of the functions attached to the diverse roles that a plantation manager are covered in the curriculum. They include the following.

Agri Business Management Systems

Agri-Business & Rural Marketing

Commodity Futures - Trading & Strategies

Corporate Extension Management

Cost & Management Accounting

E-Commerce and IT Initiatives in Agri-Business

Enterprise Economics & Macro - Economic Environment

Entrepreneurship Project & Micro-Enterprise Management

Environment Management

Estate Management

Financial Accounting for Management

Financial Management & Capital Markets

HRM & Industrial Relations

Industry Studies (Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Spices, Floriculture, Agri-Processing,

Horticulture, Forestry, Seed Industry, Agro-Bio-technology, etc.)

Information Technology for Management

Insurance in Agri-Business

International Business

International Commodity Management

International Marketing of Agro Products

Labour / Union Management & Industrial Relations

Legal Aspects of Business

Management Control Systems

Marketing Management

Micro Financing

Organization Behaviour & Organization Development

Production & Operations Management: Field / Manufacturing Operations

Quantitative Methods for Business

R & D Management

Retailing & Channel / distribution Management

Rural Development and NGO Management

Strategic Management

Supply Chain Management

Understanding Behaviour: Individual, Roles & Teams

Written & Oral Communication

AREAS OF SPECIALISATION

Environment Management

Agri-Biotechnology Management

Entrepreneurship and Micro-enterprise Management

Institution Development and Management

NGO Management

Agri-Business and Rural Management

Information Technology for Agriculture and Rural Development

Admision

A bachelor's degree in any discipline with at least 50% marks is adequate qualification for admission to the program. However, those who have graduation in agriculture or allied subjects should appear in the OMR style PG Admission Test conducted by `MANAGE' (National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad - 500 030; Web site: www.manage.gov.in) . Other graduates should have comparable competitive scores.

Selection will be on the basis of past academic record, personal interview, group discussion, and the score in the MANAGE test. Foreign students are selected based on their scores in GMAT and TOEFL.

Sponsored students will be given due weightage for their experience. Students can take admission under the following five categories of sponsorship:

Central and State Governments, International Agencies and SAARC Countries, NRI's / PIO, Plantation Companies and Agri-Business Corporates and plantation owners. The fees may vary from time to time.

It would be around Rs 1,50,000 for the program. Sponsored category may have to pay nearly $ 9,600. Admission notification would be issued in November.

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