India is an agrarian country, where 70 per cent of the rural population thrives on agriculture and agri-allied sectors for their livelihood. Despite being considered the backbone of the Indian economy, this sector contributes merely 17.5 per cent to our country's GDP. The fundamental reasons owing to such poor productivity of this sector is the lack of awareness, technology and capital to invest in better methods of production. Plus, a shortage of skilled professionals who understand the existing scenario and have the expertise to improve agricultural input supply, manufacturing, commodity assembly, processing, packaging, marketing, and selling operations.
All of these factors impede the development of this industry and the overall growth of our economy. To change the current state of agriculture and transform it into a profitable sector, knowledge of Agri Business management could be of great help. Today, leading educational institutes have designed this MBA programme in a way so that students can get a comprehensive understanding of all the activities ranging from farm planning, adopting new technology and harvesting to marketing the produce and getting the food to the table.
“To change the current state of agriculture industry in India and to transform it into a profitable sector, knowledge of Agri Business management could be of great help”
The Role of Agri Business Managers in Doubling the Agricultural Sector Income
As mentioned earlier, the primary challenges for the growth of this sector are the lack of technology and business insights. Agri Business management professionals can help businesses in this industry to address these issues. This is because they can always identify the right resources to shape farming practices right from production to distribution and storage. A lot of new concepts that are emerging in the agricultural sector include precision farming, vertical farming and smart farming which make use of technology such as IoT solutions, soil testing, satellite imaging, and many more. Furthermore, the data gathered from these processes can be used to cut costs and enhance the quality and quantity of their crops.
The agriculture industry in India is yet unstructured. The small size and scattered nature of agricultural holdings lead to low productivity per acre. Small and marginal farmers account for 86.2 per cent of the total lot, and have less than two hectares of land. Plus, they lack access to government procurement facilities, the know-how of cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, and more. Due to this, farmers have no option but to sell their produce to intermediaries with very little or no profits. Another major cause of farmers’ low income is their inability to market their products and overall business insights. There exists a dearth of knowledge about marketing strategy, pricing, packaging, advertising and publicity.
In such a situation, there is a need for all stakeholders of the agri-allied industries to work together on solving issues related to this sector. Here lies the scope for Agri Business managers to be able to help the farmers for increased yields. They would also be able to formulate effective marketing strategies to promote the final product, negotiate prices based on demand and manage representatives while ensuring a profit margin.
The Future of an MBA in Agri Business Management
Over the last decade, the agricultural sector has diversified. It now includes everything from farming to human nutrition, food production and processing, and also retail marketing. This has opened doors to intensive studies and varied career opportunities. After the completion of a degree such as Agri Business Management, students can work for FMCG organizations, food production companies, farming industries, micro-finance firms, banks, import-export firms, agrochemical factories, Government boards, fisheries, fertilizers, dairy, and so on.
Depending on the type of industry, the job profiles can vary. A few of the prominent job roles in the Agri Business industry are Business Consultant, Business Developer, Market Analyst, Supply Chain Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, and more. When it comes to the salary package, it again is determined by the institution of study, the company in consideration, and nature of the job. The compensation can range from 7 to 16 LPA. Companies such as ITCABD, Syngenta, Mahyco, Monsanto, Cargill, Godrej Tyson Foods, Coromandel International, Mahindra & Mahindra, NBHC, Britannia, Bayer Crop Science, PepsiCo, Marico, John Deer and others are leading recruiters for Agri Business specialists.
All in all, agriculture is the predominant driver of economy in the domestic/international arena. Going forward, with greater emphasis from the Government on the agricultural sector, combined with an in-depth understanding and willingness to contribute towards the overall betterment, there lie enormous opportunities for Agri Business management professionals.
Dr. Asmita Chitnis, Director
Currently, serving as Director of Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB), Pune, Dr. Asmita Chitnis is a postgraduate in Statistics and holds a Ph.D. degree in the field of Operations Management. She started her career with the National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM) as a researcher and worked on different projects of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) during this tenure. Then, she moved into the teaching domain and ever since has more than 29 years of academic and corporate training experience to her credit.