Horticulture, a vital branch of Agricultural Science, involves the cultivation and study of plants. It encompasses various aspects such as art, technology, business, education, and scientific research. Today, horticulture is a rapidly growing field, and the demand for skilled horticulturists is increasing globally. In India, there are several reputable colleges and universities that offer specialized programs in this area.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly influenced people's perspectives on nature, both in India and around the world. There is a growing interest in promoting a healthier and greener environment for the well-being of individuals and the planet. India holds a prominent position in the production of vegetables and fruits, ranking second only to China. The country contributes approximately 10 percent of the world's fruit production and 14 percent of the global vegetable production.
Branches of Horticulture
Due to its size, the branch of horticulture is divided into a number of fields, the eight main branches listed below.
Floriculture: The growing of flowers is known as floriculture. It is the area of ornamental horticulture that deals with flower cultivation and commercialization. The professionals involved in this industry are known as floriculturists.
Olericulture: The science of producing, storing, processing, and marketing plants for food is known as olericulture. In this context, food is defined as vegetables, which are mostly annual, non-woody plants from which a crop is harvested. A practitioner of this branch is known as an olericulturist.
Pomiculture or Pomology: Pomiculture, also known as pomology, is the study of growing and selling fruit that bears seeds and develops on woody perennial plants including trees, shrubs, and vines. The term "pomologist" refers to a professional in this area.
Landscape Horticulture: Landscape horticulture focuses on designing, creating, and maintaining aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces using plants and other elements. It combines artistic principles with horticultural knowledge to enhance the visual appeal and functionality of landscapes.
Nursery Management: This branch of horticulture involves the production and management of plants in nurseries. It includes activities such as propagation, cultivation, and sale of various plants, including ornamental and fruit-bearing varieties.
Arboriculture: Arboriculture focuses on the cultivation, care, and management of trees, shrubs, and woody plants. It includes practices such as tree planting, pruning, disease and pest management, and tree preservation. Arborists, experts in this field, work to maintain the health and beauty of trees in urban and natural environments.
Turfgrass Management: Turfgrass management is concerned with the cultivation, maintenance, and utilization of grass for lawns, sports fields, golf courses, and other recreational areas. It involves practices such as seeding, fertilization, mowing, irrigation, and pest control to ensure the health and appearance of turfgrass surfaces.
Medicinal Horticulture: Medicinal horticulture explores the cultivation and utilization of plants for their medicinal properties. It involves the study and cultivation of medicinal herbs, plants, and botanicals used in traditional and modern medicine. This branch integrates horticultural practices with the knowledge of plant-based medicines for therapeutic purposes.
Scope of Horticulture in India
Horticulture in India holds great promise due to the country's robust food grain production and the increasing demand for agricultural advancements. Here is a point-by-point explanation of the scope of horticulture in India:
Abundant Food Production
India has achieved a remarkable increase in food grain production, reaching a record of 303.34 million tonnes in 2020-21. This demonstrates the country's self-sufficiency in food production, providing a solid foundation for exploring other agricultural domains.
The current demand for advancements in agriculture opens up enormous potential in India. Horticulture, encompassing various concepts such as monoculture and permaculture, is an area where significant progress can be made to enhance agricultural practices.
Horticulture offers a range of degree programs that provide in-depth knowledge and training in this field. These programs equip students with the necessary skills to excel in various horticultural practices, from crop management to landscaping and garden design.
Beyond formal education, there are numerous groups and organizations actively involved in spreading awareness about horticulture. These groups aim to engage individuals from all walks of life, emphasizing the importance of sustainable farming, urban gardening, and the benefits of horticulture in enhancing the quality of life.
Horticulture introduces the concept of monoculture, which focuses on cultivating a single type of plant or crop in a designated area. This approach allows for specialized farming, increased productivity, and efficient resource management, ensuring optimal growth conditions for specific plants.
Another exciting concept within horticulture is permaculture. It involves creating sustainable agricultural systems by imitating natural ecosystems. Permaculture promotes biodiversity, maximizes resource utilization, and fosters ecological balance, leading to long-term productivity and environmental harmony.
Horticulture Jobs and Career
Securing a coveted position in the field of horticulture often calls for possessing a certified degree in this specialized discipline. Let's delve into the exciting job prospects that horticulture offers across different branches:
Floriculturists: Floriculturists with their expertise in the meticulous planning and design of breathtaking landscapes, find themselves in high demand for projects ranging from parks and recreational areas to industrial sites and shopping malls.
Olericulturists: Olericulturists equipped with their profound knowledge of vegetable cultivation, can launch their careers in a multitude of industries, research institutes, universities, and other organizations. Their skills are particularly sought after in the private sector, where the future of vegetable growers, especially within the seed industry, appears promising.
Pomologists: Pomologists well-versed in advanced techniques such as breeding technology, tissue culture, integrated nutrient management, pest control, and protected cultivation, hold a bright future within esteemed institutions like ICAR, State Agricultural Universities, and other research organizations.
Horticulture Jobs in India: Exploring Opportunities Across Sectors
In India, horticulture offers a vast array of full-time and part-time opportunities, regardless of whether you own a piece of land or not. To gain insight into the sector-wise job prospects available, let's explore the diverse options:
Government and Public Sector
Civil Servants (IAS/IFS): Aspiring candidates must undergo rigorous competitive exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Scientists: One can pursue a career as a scientist by clearing examinations organized by the Agriculture Scientist Recruitment Board, ICAR, New Delhi.
Lecturers, Assistant Professors, or Training Associates: Opportunities abound in agricultural universities and colleges for those passionate about teaching and sharing their knowledge.
Horticulture/Agriculture Officers or Assistant Agriculture Officers: Competitive exams conducted by State Public Service Commissions pave the way for these positions.
Technical/Training Assistant: Institutions such as SAU, ICAR, DRDO, IARI, and CSIR offer roles as technical or training assistants.
Horticulture/Food/Marketing Inspector/Agriculture Development Officer: Government bodies like DSSSB/HPSC recruit professionals for inspectorial and officer roles.
The private sector offers an exciting array of career options for horticulturists. One can become a Horticulturist or Supervisor (Landscape) in industries, hotels, golf courses, construction companies, and more. Furthermore, individuals with ample experience can explore marketing opportunities within pesticide and insecticide companies.
Self-Employment in Horticulture
Graduating with a degree in horticulture or agriculture makes starting a self-employment path possible. You can establish your own agriculture clinic or set up a nursery, nurturing fruit and ornamental plants through various techniques like grafting, budding, tissue culture, layering, and vegetative propagation.
Fellowship Opportunities in the Horticulture Sector
Aspiring scholars from SC/ST backgrounds can seize the Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) Scheme, which supports full-time PhD studies in Horticulture Science. Additionally, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), New Delhi, offers Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) and Senior Research Fellowships (SRF) through examinations conducted periodically.
Different Horticulture Courses Eligibility
Before applying for Horticulture courses, it's important to know the eligibility criteria for each program.
To pursue a bachelor's degree in Horticulture, you need to have completed Class 12 in the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and either Mathematics, Biology, or Agriculture as the main subjects. You can also choose Horticulture as a subject within the BSc Agriculture Science program. The duration of these programs is as follows:
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Horticulture: 3 years
Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Horticulture: 4 years
For postgraduate programs, you must have a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline with a minimum aggregate of 60%.
Master of Science (MSc) in Horticulture: 2 years
Postgraduate Diploma in Horticulture and Landscape Gardening: 1 year
MSc Ag. - Horticulture (Floriculture and Landscaping): 2 years