What did I learn about Food and Agribusiness careers in India

“All of us do not have equal talents. But, all of us have an equal opportunity to develop our talents” – by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Talent follows opportunity and opportunity has different implications for different people. At a younger age, our career decisions are driven by our interest and passion. Mostly people don’t know their destination but have a vague idea of their path, whereas few know their destination. Career choices, in my perspective, should be made based on one’s aspirations but in most cases are actually determined by education and influence of the environment.

When people hear about Agribusiness, due to lack of knowledge they think it might be related to farming/ agriculture. But, they are wrong; it’s a vast sector with a wide range of career options. Agribusiness value chain (Agriculture, Food and Retail) is a $5 trillion global industry and employs up to 60% of the working population, if not more.

However, there is a huge shortage of talented people ready to serve this industry. In India, for example, Agribusiness industry require more than 10,000 agribusiness management professionals annually but the current education system is only able to cater 40% of the above requirements (and in most cases not at par with the required standards).

There are several reasons for this gap. One of the major ones is the lack of aware and understanding of the opportunities within this space which I started to discover as an Industry Readiness Program learner at Agribusiness Academy.

Growth in Agribusiness

The market size is large and continuously expanding. In terms of market size, the Indian food market was worth $193 billion in 2016 and is expected to cross $540 billion in 2020. The sector has been growing at the rate of 12% annually – as reporter by Arun Jaitley, Economic Times.

We are already beginning to see positive action with forward looking policies such as partial decontrol of fertilizer, progressive removal of agri marketing bottlenecks, relaxations in the Essential Commodities Act, introduction of forward trading in agri commodities, enhancement of agriculture credit and a frenzied thrust on micro irrigation, watershed management, horticultural development, food processing and agri infrastructure.

To give a perspective of this growth, Organized Retail and Modern Trade is presently growing at 35-40% CAGR. This will be led by consumption rising from income growth, and expanding urbanization.

As lots of online groceries, supermarkets, hypermarkets are evolving, it clearly shows the opportunities lying in the sector. India Times expect that by 2040, agriculture in India will employ 80 million people (that is, per person output is still one-tenth of USA’s current level).

Opportunities in Agribusiness Sector

Here is a glimpse of some of the career opportunities within the agribusiness value chain (I am still learning and trying to understand the nuances of the industry and the opportunities it has to offer):

  • Loan Officer, Budget Analyst, Controller, Credit Analyst, Economist, and Financial Analyst are the positions for an Agriculture Finance candidates. These positions can be taken up by a general bachelor’s or a master’s candidates as much as the specialized agriculture economics or agribusiness management.
  • Sourcing Manager/Coordinator, Supply Chain Manager, Logistic Manager, Risk Management Specialist and Inventory Specialist are the positions for Logistic and Supply Chain candidates. These positions can be taken up by a general bachelor’s or a master’s candidates as much as the specialized agriculture economics or agribusiness management.
  • Brand Manager, Product Innovation Manager, Category Manager, Agri-input Marketing Representative, Agri-input Business Development Representative, and Pricing Coordinator for Marketing graduates. With the exception of the Agri-input marketing and business development function non-agribusiness education background graduates can perform well in these jobs.
  • Agribusiness Analyst, Greenhouse Manager, Product Inspector, Production Manager, Project/Product Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Grain Marketing Specialist, and Food & Beverage Manager. Most of these positions possibly require a specialized technical understanding.

The corporate sector in India has begun to experience and respond to changes, and one now finds a growing number of interesting career opportunities in agriculture as corporates drive the talent acquisition and retention component.

Agro Based Companies like ITC Limited , Rallis India Limited , Excel Crop Care Limited , Global Agri System Private Limited , Godrej Agrovet Limited and Synthite Industrial Chemicals Limited etc. are hiring graduates for the position of Ag. Research Analyst or Ag. Marketing Manager etc.

Major organizations in meat, poultry and fisheries ( Godrej Agrovet , hind Industries , MAFCO , Bell foods , Alkabeer exports , CDF , Venky’s etc) and Dairy Industries (like Cadbury , H.J.Heinz , Mother Dairy , Nestle , Smith Kline Beecham , Amul , Wockhardt etc.) are looking for the industry ready candidates having knowledge and passion for the Food and Agribusiness industry.

Food Retailing Sector, Microfinance Sector, and Banks & Insurance Sectors also provides an employment area suitable for the Agri Graduates and they can join in the warehousing, retail, seeds companies, processed food, fertilizer and pesticides companies, and also frozen food and vegetables giants like Dabur , MTR , Godrej F&B etc.

Organic Food Industry too is booming, and some of them that are looking for agribusiness professionals are Adi Naturals , APOF , Era Organic , Green World , REI agro etc.

Apart from this many Big Retail Chains such as Big Bazar , food bazaar , reliance fresh are also hiring the Agri business management graduates.

I am still in my early stages of understanding the sector and would appreciate feedback and inputs from the people that have a better understanding and experience of talent needs within the sector. My practical project with Agri.Careers (A platform created to match industry ready talent with exciting career opportunities especially targeted at fresh graduates) is to get more firsthand inputs of the job profiles, knowledge and skills the industry is seeking for.

If you are responsible for the talent needs of your organisation, I will benefit from your inputs and might be able to support you with the talent needs for your organization.

Please leave your comments below or feel free to inbox me.