‘What is there for me in agriculture?’
I studied agri-science but what will I do with it when I’m done? Where am I suppose to work, these businesses will not accept my degree in agribusiness? Agriculture is too frustrating and stress, I will move on to something else.
So what really is there for young people involved agriculture related areas in one way or another…The answer is clear as day. We need to eat.
A look at global trade will tell you just how much our world depends on food. It is the number one economy anywhere in the world simply because it is a necessity. As a result there will always be jobs to be found and created in agriculture. However the importance of the sector varies sharply across the countries and regions.
Therefore many young people upon leaving their studies in agriculture feel that they have no place to go, that is within their own environment. This maybe true to a certain extent in one’s local setting but will you let that stop you?
Creating your own path
People that produce our food do this for a living, which makes them the most qualified individuals to answer the question ‘how does one do this efficiently’? To exemplify, the largest rice farmer in Trinidad and Tobago runs a fully mechanised operation using, harvesters, seeders and big machinery to get the job done over thousands of acres. He faces the problem whereby, mechanical parts for his heavy machinery and vehicles are not available locally. So in order to ensure proper maintenance for his indispensable machinery, he educated himself in the field of mechanical engineering in addition to outsourcing skilled employees who are knowledgeable in rice production from the neighbouring Caribbean nation of Guyana, who also specialize in rice production.
Instead of regularly importing expensive parts, he imported the labour with intuitive skills to solve problems using salvaged parts and other inventions. Clearly this is a farmer that is thinking on his feet, in order to progress within his own environment.
This farmer, does not rely on any third party such as the local Ministry of Agriculture to support his endeavours and the day to day operation of his business. He and his staff work together and have ensured the continuity of his family’s rice business or rather the expansion into large scale operations. In short he forged his own way in the local agriculture, which is looked down upon, however the level of income he generates is to say the least, extremely high.
But I can’t do what he did?!
I know this is the next direct question following the aforementioned example. Rather than focus on the example, pay attention to the main thought: the opportunities in the field to create or access a job for yourself are plentiful. Returning to the opening of this post, food runs the world. Have you heard of these ideas recently? Each of these ideas started somewhere small. Someone who had an interest in the field was dedicated and after numerous failed attempts came about with a winning concept that is now their niche in the food system; the thriving companies of today.
- Using a plant that has the properties of egg as a replacement in egg based products such as mayonnaise. Image how much of a reduction in overcrowded and possibly inhumane layer production houses that would be.
- Creating a non toxic product that when used in plastic packaging allows the contents to slide out easily. Ketchup and other condiments will never remain in the bottle again.
- Linking small scale ranchers directly to chefs in order to reduce wastage of meat and transport costs.
- Chipotle, launches Farmed and Dangerous, a tv series about the battle against large fast food companies selling unhealthy products which contrasts with the company’s drive to provide wholesome, quality fast food using fresh vegetables and the like.
These are all viable ideas in food development and processing, just one sector of the agriculture industry. Each of these are part of the top ten most innovative food companies according to fast companies. And they are in fact sought after by powerful investors such as Bill gates, Twitter co-cofounder Evan Williams and Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom. Following the creation of these products or services, they must be marketed, sold, continually researched and developed, then shipped and transported for the consumer to access. How many jobs did you count in this one sector of food development in food production?
But this is all in the bigger picture. Where do I fit?!
Were we correct in assuming your next question would have been something like that? If it was do not be concerned. Those were just examples. The focus here is on the vast array of opportunities which agriculture can provide. Think of anything…anything at all, and it can always be linked back to food and agriculture.
However to put things in perspective let’s look at a specific example of a young food producer operating a vertical hydroponics system in Trinidad.
In the second of this three part feature we highlight Jerrod, and his team who applied a little ingenuity, lots of hard work, time and effort to create created a niche for themselves in the sector. Look out for the post next week on tech4agri.
Lastly, the third in this series involves you! Tech4agri will host a live session on this topic of “What is there for me in Agriculture?” This will be an online webinar whereby information on how to find job opportunities, further education opportunities, as well as tips on how to forge your career in agriculture will be provided. Most importantly you will be able to air your concerns and asks questions on how one should progress themselves.
The seminar will be held in June with limited space so please look out for details.