Kitchen gardening has moved out of the house and has grown into a full-fledged career. Known as horticulture, this practice is a facet of agricultural science that primarily focuses on the science of growing plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. It is a suitable career choice and is fast gaining popularity in India. Even though horticulture is an under-explored career, it can be as rewarding as any other mainstream profession. So if you are want to look beyond traditional fields, it’s a good idea to opt for this rewarding career.
Horticulture is a diverse field. A horticulturist may conduct research in various areas such as plant cultivation, plant breeding, genetic engineering, plant biochemistry and plant physiology. One needs to have adequate knowledge about the different species of plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Aside from a formal education in horticulture, prospective horticulturists need to have a good deal of patience as well as the ability to put in long hours that are most often in the outdoors and in a range of climatic conditions. One should also possess qualities like perseverance and dedication. This is because in this field, time reaps benefits.
Those who wish to embark on a career in horticulture should choose a full-time undergraduate (Bachelor of Science) or postgraduate (Master of Science) programme. Those who have passed class 12 with science as their stream are elible for undergraduate courses. Postgraduate diplomas as well as part-time certificate courses are also conducted by a number of colleges or universities that offer horticulture as a subject. Graduation in a relevant stream from a recognised university is necessary to be eligible for any of the postgraduate courses in horticulture. A degree course will teach you the different aspects of horticulture that range from fruits, flowers, bees, soils, climate and horticultural instruments, right up to business prospects and landscaping. Other interesting subjects that are a part of horticultural programmes include food processing, irrigation, nutrition and pests.
Postgraduate courses are more specialised in the sense that they comprise more of an in-depth study of the different facets of horticulture, such as fruit sciences, vegetable sciences, floriculture, landscaping, bio-technology and post-harvest technology. You can expect to learn about the properties of medicinal and aromatic plants too. Lastly, postgraduate diplomas are perfect for those who want to get a deeper insight into subjects as specialised as precision farming, wine technology, nursery management, seed production and value addition. For an MSc in horticulture, one must have a BSc degree in agriculture or any related subject.
The range of careers that horticulture offers is wide. In fact, career opportunities are only expected to grow over the next few years. Horticulturists are employed to work in universities, luxury hotels, schools, buildings, parks, gardens, horticultural institutes, farms and orchards. In recent times, there have been a large number of horticulturists who start their own ventures, offering customised horticultural solutions to their clients.
The starting salary of a horticulturist is Rs. 12,000 per month, and can increase to approximately Rs. 50,000 at a top-level position. Those who have a degree in horticulture tend to enjoy increased earnings because of added experience and exposure in the field.
Monetary benefits aside, horticulture lets you remain in close proximity to nature. You’ll never get bored of your job since in all probability, you’ll be working on many projects at a time. Besides, the work environment is extremely pleasant especially if you enjoy working with plants in gardens, parks and greenhouses. Lastly, the job is highly fulfilling as you help beautify places on the whole. So get out there and let it grow!
Where to Study?
- College of Agriculture, Pune, Maharashtra
- College of Agriculture, Hebbal, Bangalore
- Rev. Carey Institute of Horticulture, Kolkata
- College of Horticulture, Bidar, Karnataka
- Dr YSR University of Horticulture and Forestry, Himachal Pradesh
Volume 1 Issue 10