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Farm sector is hep now

B.S. SATISH KUMAR

Three hundred freshers from UAS-Bangalore set to get placement in various firms under campus recruitments this year.



new era: Agriculture graduates are now in great demand.

Gone are the days when candidates with an agricultural sciences background were being looked down upon in the job market which then used to lay the red carpet to only those with a technical background, especially IT. Things have been changing rapidly for the better for job-seekers from agricultural sciences in the last three to four years. The demand for farm science graduates and postgraduates has been growing steadily since then.

The fact that companies are now going to the Universities of Agricultural Sciences to undertake campus recruitments is an indication of the growing demand for agricultural sciences' manpower as well as its relevance in the job market. The demand in the job market this year is said to be the highest so far with the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore set to record the highest number of campus recruitments.

Nearly 300 fresh graduates and postgraduates from the university are set to get placement through campus recruitments this year as against the last year's position when 150 were chosen by employers. Already 160 students from UAS-B have got placements in prestigious companies through campus recruitments in the last one-and-a-half months.

The process of recruiting another 150 to 160 students is under way and is expected to be completed by July-end. This is in addition to those who have got jobs in public sector companies, government establishments and private firms, which have not participated in the campus recruitment.

What is significant in these recruitments, according to UAS-B vice-chancellor K. Narayana Gowda, is that the placements will cover almost all fresh graduates and postgraduates from the University. In other words, none of the student from the agricultural sciences stream would remain unemployed, he notes. Every year, 400 graduates and 200 postgraduates come out of UAS-B.

But the number of job-seekers will be only around 320 as 200 will take up the masters' degree course and 80 of the postgraduates will opt for doctoral research. Of these 320 job-seekers, about 300 will get placements through campus recruitments alone this year.

This is expected to take care of the job requirements of all as some students will become agri-entrepreneurs and there are others who have got jobs on a regular basis without going through the campus recruitment route. This year's recruiters include Canara Bank (63 posts), Vijaya Bank (35), Bank of India (10), IFFCO (6) and ITC (3). Similarly, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab National Bank and Syndicate Bank have completed the process of selection and results are awaited.

The CTC (cost to company) offered to the selected candidates ranges from Rs. 2.8 lakh to Rs. 5.8 lakh with an average of Rs. 4 lakh a year. Interestingly, a majority of the placements this year have been in banks. In fact, Canara Bank itself has appointed a massive number of 63 candidates in one go from UAS-B.

A. Mohan Rao, Coordinator of the UAS-B's Placement Cell, attributes this to two factors. One is that the agricultural sciences students would have studied economics and accountancy as part of their courses. The second is the thrust being given in the country's Five-Year Plan to development of the agricultural sector.

This has resulted in the formulation of more number of agricultural schemes involving lending by banks. Banks find agricultural sciences candidates useful in executing this task, especially taking technology from the lab to farmers' lands, which is part of agricultural development schemes.

The other areas where there is huge demand for agricultural sciences candidates is from agri-input companies such as those dealing with seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. While the undergraduates are mostly preferred for product promotion jobs by these companies, the postgraduates are absorbed in research and development works, says Dr. Rao. Those with Ph.D. get high-profile jobs in areas suiting their fields.

Well, it appears that the job market is shining for agricultural sciences. The country cannot aspire for more if such a trend helps in attracting bright and talented minds to this field and contributes to the development of the agriculture sector and improves the living standards of farmers who, despite being the key persons in taking care of the country's food security, are in dire straits as they are yet to get the due returns for their work.

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