Horticulture usually refers to gardening on a smaller scale, unlike agriculture, which involves largescale cultivation of crops. A horticulturist is a professional who uses his/her knowledge of the science of plant cultivation. Horticulturists work to improve crop yield, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases and environmental stress. They work and conduct research in the areas of crop production, plant breeding and genetic engineering (cross-breeding of crops), plant biochemistry and plant physiology. The work particularly involves fruits, berries, nuts, vegetables, flowers, trees, shrubs and turf
What do they do?
If you cringe at the thought of being tied to a desk when it comes to a job, how about supervising a 100-acre garden full of ornamental plants?
Pramod Sharma, who has been a horticulturist for a corporate house and for the lifestyle spa Ananda in the Himalayas, has always found his job “satisfying” for the creativity it allows him. “Your job is to adorn a piece of land with beautiful plants, shrubs and flowers,” says Sharma, currently horticulture manager with IHHR Hospitality, owner of Ananda. There is a lot of science behind the green thumb. “Care has to be taken to choose the right type of soil and seeds that can produce the best results in the existing weather conditions,” says Sharma.
As a horticulturist, one has to pick one of these specialisations — vegetable science; fruit technology; floriculture. The first two involve tending to or researching plantations of fruit or vegetables. Floriculture involves maintaining a garden and/or using scientific methods to enhance its medicinal values.
For a horticulturist with specialisation in floriculture, there is increasing scope with people paying more attention to greenery. Be it a highway authority or a civic body, a farmhouse owner or a corporate house, all are keen to beautify the surroundings.
“Because of this, I foresee a bright career for horticulturists. The beautification not only helps the environment but also utilises waste water,” says VD Sharma, deputy director (retd), Noida Authority (horticulture).
Besides jobs, the field also offers opportunities in self-employment, research and consultancy. It can be pretty hi-tech stuff. Sabina Islam, a scientist in the horticulture division of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, says, “You get to create high-yielding varieties of vegetables or fruits, keeping in mind its nutrient value and genetic nature.”
Manoj Singh, who did MSc (horticulture), runs a consultancy, Chandel Agritech Solutions, in New Delhi to promote agri-ventures, and he feels, “Integrating management and agriculture is the need of the hour.”
Furkhan Khan is a young horticulture graduate and an agripreneur who runs a nursery, Plants World, in Delhi. Business is brisk, thanks to the mushrooming of corporate offices in Gurgaon and farmhouse beautification in Mehrauli. “Corporate offices take plants on rent — the trend has spread all over the NCR,” says Khan, who has hired three horticulturists to keep up with the demand.
Source: HT Horizons
. Ability to work hard as the job involves a lot of leg work
. Innovative and creative streak combined with a bent for science as the job requires
improving the quality of vegetables or fruits
. Ability to retain information as you have to deal with plant nomenclature
. Love of the outdoors as you spend most of the time there
How do I get there?
Study agriculture science at the Bachelor’s level and specialise in horticulture in your Master’s, which is MSc (horticulture) from any of the State Agricultural Universities.
A doctorate is mandatory for research. But a postgraduate degree would suffice if your interest lies in consultancy or landscape designing or in case you aim to join a resort/ hotel/corporate house as a horticulturist