Like me if you stumbled into agriculture or better still JAB in their indefinite wisdom chose this as you degree program, what and where are the opportunities?
I chose agriculture in high school as the lesser evil to French which I was so ecstatic about, only later to find that I couldn’t learn a new language even for the death of me. So when I was selected to pursue BSC. Agriculture by JAB (Joint admission Kenya University Board), lets say it wasn’t my preferred choice.
Many years later, I have graduated and worked in the Agriculture industry in Kenya such I have seen opportunities in many areas for us Agriculture graduates and it is only fair I give a heads up to my peeps who may think they are doomed by their agriculture degree.
I start with this, because although most graduates prefer to be employed, it’s the most Lucrative. Starting your own farm be it livestock or crops is liberating …no nagging bosses ;). With the information gathered in college you’re more empowered to make better decisions hence have potential to have better yields and higher quality products. The key to this is getting Capital to start up a venture (greenhouse, Buy some cows, chicken, hybrid seeds etc.) Secondly use technology, yes technology is your friend, use it to increase production and maximize output. You are a graduate you know what I mean. This is an opportunity to empower other youth by giving them jobs. Yes you will be the “boss” choose staff wisely good skills are a must-have.
Sales & Marketing
There are a lot of products to be consumed in the Agriculture sector, this include: Seeds, Chemicals, fertilizers, Machinery and even technology http://mfarm.co.ke/ . Output from farms e.g. eggs, flowers, fruits, vegetables all need to be created markets for, to influence sales. It’s often said the best paid people are the marketers so here is a great opportunity for any agriculture graduate. The only challenge at the lower levels its more or less hawking from one shamba to another, later you get promoted to a motorbike (you need a license to drive this death traps), much later the company car and the big bucks stream in. The beauty of it is that a very flexible job, no formal dressing or working hour, as long as you deliver the sales figures you can dress as you please great right?
Research & Development
For the above products to be legally sold in countries e.g. Kenya for example a lot of research has to be conducted. I feel this is the career choice for the first class boring chop in class. It’s slow paced work, which involves a lot of data taking and analysis. For one product to be registered for use in Kenya you have to do tests on at least 3 seasons, so as I said its slow, but there is good money in it…
Sometimes you’re called Mwalimu… your revered and respected even though you might be using a Bicycle provided after months of request by the government. However if your employed by private companies, it might just be a motorcycle. The Wakulima’s listen very keenly to your advice however they never seem to get the time to do it as you showed them…. Aversion to change!
NGO’s Projects Facilitators
If you are in a good project the money can be great. However NGO work require hard work and results to explain the big bucks. It’s also cut throat and a lot of competition and a lot is expected of you. Another thing is that most of the jobs are usually in places nobody really likes to live in… even the people who live there hate it. Ngo’s likes http://www.wvi.org/kenya will send you to Turkana and other parts of northern Kenya I don’t even know, soon you will be in Somali!
So this are just the few I like of course there is the teaching angle as well, which I am not particularly keen on, but if someone feels it’s their calling they may pursue it….
Other graduates find jobs in different sectors like Banking or insurance that target Farmers to use their products and services. If all fails, talk about agriculture be a blogger just like me.
Either way wherever you land, work hard and do your best and you will definitely shine.