Career Opportunities in Agricultural Meteorology

Career Opportunities in Agricultural Meteorology

PUBLISH DATE 30th March 2018

The world’s population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion by 2050, boosting agricultural demand. Although agricultural investments and technological innovations are boosting productivity, growth of yields has slowed to rates that are too low for comfort. The needed acceleration in productivity growth is hampered by the degradation of natural resources and the loss of biodiversity. Satisfying increased demands on agriculture with existing farming practices is likely to lead to more intense competition for natural resources, increased greenhouse gas emissions and further deforestation and land degradation (FAO,2017). According to the most recent assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2014, levels of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are now at their highest in history. Agricultural production and its effect on land use are major sources of these emissions. Increasing the severity and frequency of extreme weather events such as more erratic rainfall, heat waves, droughts and floods will have greater consequences agricultural production and food insecurity.  In India, agriculture which meets the food and nutritional requirements of 1.3 billion populations and contributing significantly to production, employment and demand generation, is vulnerable to climate change, variability and hazards. Monsoon failure is experienced in some parts of the country almost every year. The food grain production of country was 265 million tonnes in 2013-14, which was a good monsoon year. In 2014-15, both monsoon and post-monsoon rains were deficient and deficient rainfall affected the production of both kharif and rabi crops during the year. The situation aggravated due to unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms in certain parts of the country in 2015 during February and March, which affected the production of rabi crops (Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, GoI, 2015-16). Similarly in 2015-16 setback in kharif crop production was observed due to bad monsoon and in rabi crops due to warm winter (Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, GoI, 2016-17). Hence, the current agriculture development strategy should be based on holistic approaches such as climate smart agriculture which also build upon indigenous and traditional knowledge. A comprehensive approach in the field of agricultural meteorology will be a viable option towards managing agriculture in relation to prevailing and anticipated weather conditions as well as mitigating weather related risks in agriculture and enhance production and income of farmers through research and advisory services. 
Education in Agricultural Meteorology
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has identified the “Agricultural Meteorology” as a priority subject under agricultural science and has encouraged the establishment of separate departments of Agricultural Meteorology in State Agricultural Universities. Agricultural Meteorology is offered as elementary course during graduation in Agriculture (B.Sc. Agriculture) and a major subject during M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree programme. Agricultural Meteorology is an applied meteorology that deals with the influence of weather and climate on crop husbandry and animal husbandry as well. The focus of the M.Sc. and Ph.D. programme  in Agricultural Meteorology is to develop and strengthen the human resources and  institutional capacity in research on Agricultural Meteorology and  weather risk management towards food self sufficiency through sustainable use of resources and management of agricultural operations under prevailing and anticipated weather conditions and climatic hazards. The Agricultural Meteorology degree programmes will help to build human resource capacities that will be able analyse and interpret climatic and natural risk based information. Agricultural meteorologists are trained in such a way that they can deal with crops, weather, water, soil and meteorological principles to agriculture. Since the failure or success of agriculture depend on farmer’s skills, technology, weather, soil and seeds, any weak link in the chain will determine the agricultural production at the end.
Procedure of Admission in  Agricultural Meteorology  Degree Programme
In India, the admission/selection procedure in the post graduation in Agricultural Meteorology, one can apply after completion of graduation in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry etc. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research conducts All India Entrance Examination for Admission for Master degree in Agriculture Meteorology. On the basis of performance in examination, candidates are offered admission in accredited State Agricultural Universities. Besides, one can take admission in post graduation in Agricultural Meteorology through entrance examination conducted by State Agricultural Universities. Similarly, one can get admission in Ph.D. in Agriculture Meteorology degree programmes offered by Agricultural Universities. The post graduates of Agriculture Meteorology can attend National Eligibility Test (NET) which is conducted by Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB), ICAR, New Delhi, is one of the important certificates for lectureship.
Employment and Career Opportunities for Agricultural Meteorology Professionals
The opportunities for a satisfying career in the agricultural meteorology are wide-ranging. Currently employment openings exceed the number of post-graduates available to fill them, and this shortage is expected to continue into the likely future. The career advancement in this field is excellent. Agricultural meteorology professionals can work in research and developmental activities in government and private organizations working in the field of agriculture. Agricultural meteorologists have opportunities to work as consultants to many organizations, NGOs involved in rural development, command area and watershed management programs. In government sector, these professionals can take up job opportunities in teaching, research and extension activities as Assistant Professors, Scientists and Research Officials in agricultural Universities. They can also start their career as scientist in the field of Agricultural Meteorology in ICAR institutes by qualifying the examination of Agricultural Research Service (ARS), conducted by Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board of ICAR, New Delhi. As a scientist, their activities are related  to developing weather based useful farm operations, modification of crop microclimate for increasing agricultural production, development of crop weather calendar, drought monitoring and development of contingency crop planning, developing crop growth stimulation models for assessing yield of dominating crop varieties of regions under different climate change scenario, development of weather based pest and disease forewarning models, animal biometeorology for livestock operations, preparation of agro advisories, etc. The upcoming opportunities for Agricultural Meteorology professionals in near future are in the field of Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa (GKMS) project of India Meteorological Department, New Delhi for strengthening weather based agro advisories at micro level for sustaining crop production utilizing weather forecasts. They can also find job opportunities in the position of Agricultural Meteorologists in government organizations like Department of Science & Technology, National Remote Sensing Agency, Space Application Centre, Indian Space Research Organization, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Central and State Agricultural Universities and Food and Agriculture Organization etc.
Universities for Agricultural Meteorology Educagtion in India & Abroad
In India, a few agricultural Universities provide Agricultural Meteorology as a major course leading either to the M.Sc. degree or to the Ph.D. degree. The agricultural Universities which offer Agricultural Meteorology degree programme in India are:
*Anand Agricultural University, Anand, Gujarat;
*Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, Assam;
*Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Nadia, West Bengal;
*Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi, Jharkhand;
*Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana;
*G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand;
*Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya Raipur, Chhattisgarh;
*Junagadh Agricultural University, Junagadh, Gujarat;
*Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, Kerala;
*Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri,        Maharashtra;
*Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh;
*Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha;
*Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab;
*Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and
*Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth, Parbhani, Maharashtra.
In abroad, the  Universities which offer M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Meteorology are
*Haramaya University, Harar, Ethiopia;
*Iowa State University, Ames, USA;
*Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, China;
*University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina;
*University of California, Davis, USA; University of Firenze, Frienze, Italy;
*University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada;
*University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Isreal;
*University of Kazakhstan, Almaty, Kazakhstan;
*University of Missouri, Columbia, USA;
*University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France;
*University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya;
*University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA; University of Netal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa;
*University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom;
*University of Reading, Reading, England;
*University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines;
*University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe;
*Utah State University, Logan, USA and
*Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, Neatherlands
(The above list is indicative only)
(The author is Assistant Professor, Physics and Meteorology, College of Agriculture, RVSKVV, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh)


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