Agriculture? A growing industry? Wait, what?
Yes, this is the general reaction. Agriculture is almost never considered as an industry. IT, energy, and healthcare however regularly make it to the list of industries of the future.
Shouldn’t agriculture occupy the No. 1 spot on the list? Or at least be included in it?
We give 5 reasons why agriculture is the industry to watch out for in the future:
- Food security – It is all over the newspapers, we are staring in the face of food scarcity. Agriculture is faced with one of the biggest challenges – ensuring food security.
- World population is growing by the second. It’s expected to grow by about 2 billion people in 35 years. People with growing incomes and even greater purchasing power. That is a lot for already struggling, ageing farmers.
- Demand for meat, milk, fish and eggs is expected to skyrocket in those 35 years. By 60%!
- Natural resources are disregarded. WE overuse them by over 50%. The earth now needs 1.6 years to regenerate our annual consumption.
- Animals are under threat. Animal health has been of immense concern due to emerging disease threats and climate changes.
How can we make sure that every human being has equal access to food while protecting our natural resources? Food that ensures growth, development, health and stability. This is not the job of the farmers alone. Environmentalists, human nutritionists, engineers, energy expats, precision agriculture specialists and others need to be involved.
- Immense opportunities – Agriculture needs the next generation of leaders to bring about change. Innovative solutions can only spur agriculture now. Alas, demand beats supply when it comes to capable ag graduates. This year alone agriculture is expected to generate 25,000 jobs. Graduates to fill those openings? Not as much.
Let’s take another scenario. One that is current. There are 60,000 jobs in the agricultural sector now, but there are only 35,000 graduates who can fill those roles. How can we make agriculture more sustainable when there are clearly no takers for available roles?
- Fertile opportunities – Agriculture is not an industry that a graduate aspires to be a part of. Could it be because people can only conjure an image of a farmer on a tractor? Farming is a way more complicated activity. Farmers have to play the role of an engineer, environmentalist and economist. Today it is all about improving land productivity. Farmers are using advanced equipment and precision agriculture to analyse the soil. There is so much room for improvement, though.
Agriculture is awaiting the next innovation, ways to protect animal health, the next ‘it’ equipment, new marketing concepts and means to translate production data into actionable insights. So there is a job for everyone in agriculture.
- Make an impact – We all keep saying this – I want to be a part of something bigger. What is more noble than helping ensure that everyone is fed? Millennials are no longer only searching for a job with a big paycheck. No, it is all about fulfilling careers. When it comes to agriculture, there is a whole world out there. Your work has a direct impact on the health of people, animals and our planet.
- Increasing food security concerns – It seems like a routine thing. Reading about how another of your favourite food is contaminated. It is a burning issue that plagues the industry. With the agriculture supply chain extremely intricate, consumers are increasingly sceptical about the quality of agricultural products. Agriculture needs staunch advocates who can answer the questions raised.