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How to pursue career in Agriculture?

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

India is an agrarian country where 72 percent population lives in villages and does farming. It is the second largest producer of Fruits and Vegetables in the world. Agriculture learning from the traditional way of farming is one way and getting education through colleges and universities is the second. There are 31 courses related to agriculture, which a person can pursue after completing class 12th, Graduation and Post Graduation. They can get admission in all the affiliated Universities spread across the country including Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat etc. There are 1139 colleges offering agriculture courses in the country.

India’s first ever Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in agriculture started from February 9 to April 6, 2015. The National Virtual Academy of Indian Agriculture and agriculture experts from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has worked with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay to bring this course. Dr MS Swaminathan, Father of India's Green Revolution and Emeritus Chair of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) launched free online course on February 2, 2015. He said, “I am happy to announce the launch of this first ever MOOCs for agricultural professionals – a timely initiative as knowledge revolution is the need of the hour”. He added “The course could significantly push the bar for quality online education to meet the requirements specifically of India’s agricultural education system, where available resources are scarce relative to the extremely large audience – in a country where more than 70 per cent of the population is involved in agriculture directly or indirectly”. 

Free on line education system by Swayam, an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The Indian Agriculture Development is a video course by IGNOU. The course is designed to describe various phases of the Indian agriculture development starting from the pre-historic agriculture to the modern agriculture. The course identifies the traditions, belief and agricultural practices followed by the Indian farmers.   The course also explains the scope of Indian agriculture and its contribution in the Indian economy. The status, utilization pattern, problems and development of agricultural resources viz. land, labour, water, biodiversity, livestock and fisheries are covered. Institutional development in agriculture such as cooperatives, farmers’ organization, institutional finance, research, education and extension warehousing and storage, public distribution system, etc. are explained along with their importance. Various concepts such as capital formation, agricultural pricing, taxation and subsidies are briefly described along with their importance for agricultural production management. The course talks about the role of food grains procurement, storage, marketing, research and technology transfer in development of Indian agriculture. The learners will recognise the emerging issues and trends in agriculture such as diversification, agriculture industry interface, trade, quality, gender and sustainability, globalization and use of information and communication technology. 

The course is delivered through 40 video lessons in a span of three months. Every week, learners will have to go through the video lessons. The video lessons are supported by the self learning material. In addition, a number of web links will be provided to support the study materials and to get the updated information. Self assessment questions will be provided after each lesson. Learners have to complete the assignments after going through major sections of study material. 

The course on Indian Agricultural Development is useful to those who are working or who want to build their carrier in agriculture and allied sectors as this course provides basic learning about the agriculture sector.   agMOOCs is an online platform designed to help students, professionals, and organizations to acquire and enhance knowledge and skills in the agriculture domain. The platform provides free access to numerous high-quality courses online offered by renowned faculty from the premier institutes of the country. The intent is to reach out to thousands of learners through these MOOCs thus enabling them to access higher agricultural education. 

Participation and Competency certificates will be awarded to qualifying students based on their involvement and performance. The certificates will be issued by the Centre for Development of Technical Education, IIT Kanpur and Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. The National Virtual Academy for Indian Agriculture (NVAIA) offers online course on diseases of horticultural crops and their management in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. 

The two month free online course is an initiative by a team of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in agriculture and educators from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and its partners together with theIndian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.

The course materials have been methodically planned and prepared by highly experienced team of educators and professors in the agricultural field, who have devoted their time and effort to educate the Indian masses on sustainable agriculture practices. 

In order to provide access to quality agricultural education for the less privileged, the ‘National Virtual Academy for Indian Agriculture the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has been promoting  Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for Agricultural Professionals the National Virtual Academy for Indian Agriculture, an online platform built on an open source software “Open edX.

Earlier, the NVAIA had completed its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) in agriculture. The Part- I of the free online course (Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management), which was announced on February 2 in Chennai by Professor MS Swaminathan, Father of India’s Green Revolution and Emeritus Chair of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) concluded on April 27. The course witnessed over 900 enrolments from learner participants from across the country ranging from participants holding degree from junior high school to doctorate level. 

Now, the second part of the free online course will cover distribution, symptoms, causes, disease cycles and management of diseases of important horticultural crops and their economic importance. The course can be used as a supplementary study material at the universities in the current semester where “Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management.

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