As matriculants are well on their way with preparations for their final exams, one thing is common in their minds; what career path should they pursue after grade 12. This is a thought that gives many sleepless nights as they prepare for the life changing exam.
A career in agriculture is one that isn't always the popular choice amongst the youth generally. This is a trend that continues despite the growth that the South African agricultural sector has shown. Even in the most trying years as it continues to be the cornerstone of the South African economy. In 2017 the industry contributed 2.4% to the country's GDP and grew by 24%, these are clear indications that a career in agriculture is well worth exploring.
As the matriculants get ready for their final exam, at Agri EC, we thought to have a look at some of the fantastic career opportunities within our sector.
Agronomists are sometimes known as crop scientists or agricultural engineer and specialize in producing and improving food crops through conducting experiments and developing methods of production.
As plant scientists, agronomists can have many career paths, their careers are generally focused on increasing the quality and amount of food produced for the country's food supply.
There are numerous career paths for agronomists from being teachers, agricultural business consultants, researchers, or even work for the Department of Agriculture. As an agronomist, you'll often work in the fields, on farms, or in agricultural labs and mills. A bachelor's degree in agricultural is required to become an agronomist, although many professionals pursue further degrees. Agronomists have a definite career outlook due to the continuous need for the food crops they help develop.
Food Process Engineer
In a country where malnutrition and poverty continue to plague society, food process engineers are critical to ensure a supply of food that is up to standard.
Food engineers are also known as agricultural and food scientists. Food engineers combine engineering concepts with microbiology, chemistry and other sciences to create the best ways to make processed foods tasty, healthy and safe. They're responsible for every step of food production, from production to distribution. It's also their job to figure out the most reliable and most environmentally friendly ways of processing, packaging, preserving and storing foods for delivery.
This means food engineers should be able to work well in an office, laboratory or manufacturing plant environment. As the economic climate continues to change, this has seen an increasing number of these professionals being self-employed, but the majority work for private companies in the food industry. Jobs in this field are expected to grow alongside the need for safe and sustainable food science technologies.
Agricultural economists utilize principles and concepts of economics to learn more about the supply and demand of goods and services in the agricultural sector. This includes the analysis of production, consumption, and distribution. These professionals often choose an area of expertise, such as crop and livestock sciences, environmental economics, policy analysis, agribusiness, food safety, international trade, rural development, or marketing systems.
Agricultural economists typically work with agricultural data and statistics in office settings, but they may travel as part of a research group to collect information. Additionally, they may teach and conduct research at colleges and universities with undergraduate or graduate programs in agricultural economics.
In South Africa’s economic climate, it is essential to choose a career path that has the potential to yield a secure job for one. As the youth, it is equally important to have all the necessary information before choosing that career path. With agriculture continuing to grow at the rate it is, a career options in this field is no doubt a wise choice.
From us at Agri EC, we wish all the matriculants well on their exams and trust that you’ll make the right career choices for yourselves.
We’d love to hear from you about which other careers within the agriculture industry you find interesting, do share your thoughts with us.