Horticulturist Career Information
What a Horticulturist does
Horticulture is the science and art of producing nutritious food for the body - fruits, nut and vegetable crops - and beautiful food for the soul - flowers, ornamental plants and lawns. It trains students in many aspects of plant science-physiology, nutrition, identification, soils, disease and insect control. If you choose to be a horticulturist you could even try your hand at landscaping. Creative horticulturists are needed to design and plan interior and exterior landscapes for homes, office buildings, parks, campuses and golf courses.
The four main specialties in horticulture include:
• Pomology: Cultivation of fruits, shrubs and vines
• Olericulture: Plants raised for use as vegetables
• Floriculture: Production and use of flowering and foliage plants
• Ornamental Horticulture: Plants grown outdoors for landscaping
You'll be involved in everything - creating and maintaining horticultural and floriculture farms, parks and gardens, plant pathology, fruit and vegetable processing, preservation and marketing of fruits, vegetables and flowers, etc. You will also manage and supervise agricultural practices and maximise yields.
The main areas of work in horticulture are:
Farming - Here you'll work on soil preparation, sowing, harvesting, testing and usage of fertilisers and nutrients, scientific management of the environment, etc. Mind you this is not a cushy job. You'll have to get your hands dirty, literally. It's a lot of physical labour and as such not for everyone.
Gardening - Here you'll take care of flowers, trees, shrubs, ornamental trees, etc. Grafting, collecting seeds, de-budding, etc. also fall under gardening.
Processing - Your main aim is to increase the shelf life of food items. It's a detailed process that starts from the raw material to the final distribution of the end products (which is either packaged or kept in the original form).
Research - This involves investigating and creating new and improved varieties of flowers, fruits and vegetables with the help of state-of-the-art machines and techniques like the tissue culture, embryo culture, micro-propagation. You'll work mainly at the government-funded research institutions as well as research and development laboratories owned by private sector companies (that handle the processing and marketing of horticultural foods).
Teaching/Advisory Arena - You could be teach in colleges and universities or take up an advisory position in a company.
Qualified horticulturists and floriculture specialists can be employed at various levels:
• As Horticulturists, Supervisors, Farm Managers and Estate Managers at horticultural farms and estates
• In government organisations like the Department of Agriculture in every state, ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) and the Institute for Horticulture Research appoint horticulturists, assistants, etc
• In private organisations involved in the processing, marketing and export of fruits, vegetables or flowers
• Various avenues for self-employment are open including setting up one's own farm for growing fruits, vegetables or flowers, or ornamental plants
• Running nurseries in an advisory capacity with an organisation that deals with horticultural activities
• Research openings, particularly in the area of genetic engineering
• You could also work as a Quality Inspector for commercial canning in quick-freezing stations or packaging for the domestic and export market
• There are even some industrial houses, which handle large-scale scientific cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Opportunities exist here too
Horticulture is no longer a leisurely vocation and is fast assuming the status of a vibrant commercial venture. The annual demand for flowers in the domestic market continues to grow.
The demand in the international market for Indian flowers is growing too. Therefore the prospects for horticulture specialists are extremely bright.
Technological advancements in this field have laid great emphasis on improving regular varieties of fruits and vegetables for processing purposes, creating exotic species for decorative and commercial purposes and mass scale multiplication of species for increased productivity. So, the demand for Horticulturists is growing.
Abilities & Traits Required
• Interest in Bioscience
• Keen interest in academic
• Sense of aesthetics
• Ability to put in long hours (often outdoors) and in varying climatic conditions
• Knowledge of seasonal plants, local plants, soil, etc.
You will at least need a 4 years' degree course in Horticulture, which is offered at almost all the Agricultural Universities in India. One can also enter the field with a degree in Agricultural Science or a MSc in Agricultural Science. MSc in Horticulture is another route to enter this field. A diploma in Horticulture is also a good option.
You would begin with Rs 18000-20000 per month in a farm. With experience it would grow to Rs 20000-30000 or more per month.