Careers in agriculture have gone beyond the traditional jobs Nigerian youths believe to be available in the agricultural sector. It isn’t just about the trivial planting of crops and nurturing of animals. Apart from just being a sector that lives up to the sole purpose of consumer satisfaction, it is also a feasible career option for those giving thought to venturing in the field.
Despite Nigeria’s alarming unemployment rate which is at 33.3% according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the agricultural sector provides employment for about 36.38% of the population in a 2019 report, this has been its lowest contribution to employment in the country over the past 28 years. Its highest, being 53.15% in 1992.
So if you are thinking about working in the agricultural sector, but have zero idea about the available career opportunities, don’t fret! Right here, you’ll get a detailed exploration of the top agricultural careers, as well as the required skills needed to excel.
Here, we will be looking at the careers in agriculture that Nigerian youths can examine. There’s a wealth of careers in agriculture.
CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE YOU CAN CONSIDER
– Agricultural Economist
– Agricultural Food Scientist
– Agricultural Engineer
– Aquatic Ecologist
– Farm/Agricultural Manager
– Wastewater Engineer
– Perennial Scientist
– Conservation Planner
– Agricultural Salesperson
Scrutinizing economic data is the job of an agricultural economist. As the name implies, it entails researching and determining economic trends across the agricultural hemisphere. An agricultural economist must be able to understand economic decisions. To achieve this, macroeconomic and micro economic concepts and theories must be employed.
In most cases, an agricultural economist works independently. However, some situations may require him or her to collaborate with other economists, statistics evaluators, and mathematicians for increased efficiency.
Skills such as; analyzing a wide range of data, performing random calculations, and statistics evaluation are a must-have for any agricultural economist. To excel in the role of an agricultural economist, you must be great in mathematics and data analysis. Along with proficiency in calculations, you must be able to effectively interpret data trends and statistics.
Agricultural Food Scientist
The agricultural food scientist invents innovative mediums that can be harnessed to increase the quality of food supply. The role of an agricultural and food scientist entails researching ways to improve the safety of agricultural products.
To achieve this, the scientist collates data, conducts experiments, and analyzes the available resources, all in a bid to increase agricultural output significantly.
These set of persons work in offices, laboratories and in the field. The job scope of an agricultural food scientist may require him or her to visit different farms in order to obtain samples for research.
After the period of research, the agricultural food scientist compiles the possible solutions and communicates his or her findings to the other members of the agricultural science community.
The work of an agricultural engineer is extensive in nature. Any person in this category must be able to use the latest technological advancements to the advantage of the agriculture sector. An agricultural scientist uses computer aided technology to create and design agricultural equipment(s) and machinery in order to improve output efficiency.
Assessing the impact of human activities on crops, animals, and the surrounding environment are among the many duties of an agricultural engineer.
The agricultural engineer advises agriculturists on land use by collating data from the weather, thereby preventing unprecedented occurrences. He or she supervises the construction of agricultural projects from dusk till dawn.
The research of wetlands and dry lands are among the several duties of an aquatic ecologist. Persons in this category undertake the study of water based ecosystems. These water based ecosystems consist of plants and animals that live in or near the water.
It is the job of an aquatic ecologist to study the relationship between the two systems and analyze surrounding issues. These issues include; pollution, loss of habitat, and threatening species.
In a bid to carry out the required job responsibilities, the aquatic ecologist may be required to test water samples, carry out examinations, check the levels of water particles, and monitor the ecosystem in case of any changes.
The Farm manager could also assume the position of an agricultural inspector. A farm manager oversees the day to day running of the farm. A person in this position makes business decisions based on the available budget.
Marketing the farms products, maintaining farm buildings, ensuring agricultural products meet the deadline for sales and auctions, are some duties a farm manager will be required to perform.
The agricultural manager ensures that every activity in the farm is in compliance with the government regulations. He or she also makes sure that health and safety measures are observed.
To be a farm manager, you must have previous experience in commercial agriculture and technical knowledge. The job of farm manager will require you to perform administrative tasks and hands-on farming. Hence, a degree in agriculture or related fields will be required.
The wastewater engineer can also be referred to as a water engineer. As unappealing as the name may sound, it is surprisingly one of the most lucrative career opportunities in the agricultural job scope.
Basically, a wastewater engineer designs systems that treat water by removing harmful substances and making it drinkable.
The wastewater engineer also oversees projects that manage the distribution of safe water and the proper disposal of sewage. Persons in this category work with engineers to design water treatment facilities, reduce erosion, and prevent flood damage.
The water engineer along with other engineers work with regulatory organizations to ensure that all environmental guideline protocols are met.
A good number of wastewater engineers have degrees in chemical, mechanical, or civil engineering. Strong mathematical and computer skills are required due to the broad nature of the physical and life sciences.
The perennial scientist can otherwise be referred to as the soil and plant scientist. A soil and plant scientist will be required to research alternative methods of growing crops, by way of genetic modification.
Along with this, the scientist carries out a series of tests, to check the composition of the soil matter and further evaluate how it affects the growth of plants.
The job description of a perennial scientist includes; presentation of collated data in detailed reports, suggesting to food growers the most effective ways to utilize farm land, and pointing out the suitable crops for the different soil types.
Soil and plant scientists work on the farms, in the offices or laboratories. They spend most of their time gathering samples and doing research. A perennial scientist who specializes in food, may be required to work in kitchens to brainstorm alternative methods of food processing.
To become a conservation planner, you must have an eye for detail. You will also need to have good organizational and project management skills. The job of a conversational planner includes; developing budgets, troubleshooting environmental challenges, and preparing reports.
A conservation planner assumes the position of a middleman between product developers. He or she is responsible for determining the environmental value of the land intended for use. The conservation planner also determines whether a land is suitable for use.
To become an agricultural salesperson, you must be able to listen to the needs of the agriculturists, advise farmers on different products, and recommend the suitable products for their respective purposes.
An agricultural salesperson must be knowledgeable of the different marketing strategies because he or she will be required to sell seeds, machinery, fertilizers and animal feeds to other farmers.
Persons in this category must have extensive knowledge about their products. Along with this, they must possess persuasive skills and be able to build long term relationships. If you are looking to pursue a career in this sector, a sales or marketing degree will be of great importance.
Careers in agriculture – a farm
Interestingly, all of the careers in agriculture listed above are offered in Nigerian universities and even more in three of the country’s agricultural universities – Federal university of Agriculture Abeokuta, Federal university of Agriculture Makurdi and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture.
Individuals with non-agricultural backgrounds who have interest in the agricultural sector can also work in the ever growing agricultural industry. The advent of agritech has increased the demand for non-agricultural talents and made the sector more attractive.