Top Six Skills for Every Agriculture Professional in 2020

In every professional there are certain skills that one should have in order to be successful and agriculture is no exception. Careers in agriculture cover diverse specialties such as science, finance, engineering, and management among others. Among the most important skills in agriculture there is interpersonal skills, analytical skills, management skills, technological skills, problem solving skills such as the ability and the knowledge of what causes post harvest skills and reduction of the same.

When seeking to advance your career in agriculture, it is important to consider both the hard and soft skills so that you can stand out among your peers in the industry or at the workplace.

In this article, we have highlighted some of the most notable skills that agriculture professionals should have. As a matter of fact always make sure that you not only obtain the skills but you continuously practice to ensure relevance and continued success.

Technological Skills

You do not have to be an expert in top technology skills, but one should ensure that at least they are in a position to comprehend technology in relation to agriculture. How the two are intertwined and its application plays a major role.

IOT in Agriculture

The ability to apply technology in irrigation, cultivation techniques, harvesting, storage, and transportation in the agriculture industry is vital. At least, farm owners or farm operators should be in the knowhow of new technologies, and how such technologies can be applied as well the adoption of new instruments, techniques and other advancements in their ventures.

Today, agriculture is facing many challenges such as extreme weather conditions and increasing demand among others, all of which has to be solved through adoption of new technology. Internet of things (IOT) in agriculture can be applied through livestock monitoring, smart greenhouses, agricultural drones especially in the developed world, farm management systems, crop management systems or devices etc.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to effectively communicate or interact well with others plays a big role even in agriculture. If one is in the agriculture field and working in the supply chain management then frequent interaction with farmers and other middlemen involved until the produce reaches the consumers, interpersonal skills are useful.

As an agricultural professional in the supply chain management one is suppose to attentively listen to an address the needs of both the suppliers (farmers and other middlemen) and the consumers. One should ensure that the needs and expectations of both parties are met.

Also, a farmer should possess effective communication skills as this will come in handy when interacting with buyers and other associates. Negotiation skills are also important in the agriculture industry. Advocacy groups representing farmers should show interpersonal prowess when making dialogues with different stakeholders.

Knowledge on Post Harvest Causes and Reduction

Food loss & wastage have numerous bad economic and ecological impacts. Economically, they represent a squandered financial investment which may cut farmers' incomes and increase consumers' expenses. Environmentally, waste and food loss inflict a multitude of impacts, which includes unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and also inefficient use of land and water that may result in diminished natural ecosystems and their benefits. The ability to understand methods of minimizing post-harvest loss and wastage is advantageous to any agriculture professional.

Monitoring and Evaluation in Agriculture

Agricultural professionals should strive to have the knowledge on how to make efficient agricultural policies to enable them in addressing the rising demand for sustainable food and nutrition. Today, the agricultural sector is facing various unforeseen circumstances such as climate change. Therefore, one should come up with ways of making sure that there is an increase in productivity, improvement in resilience of farmers to market shocks, and proper adaptation to climate change.

Agricultural players should train on policy evaluation sufficient enough to address the various challenges in the industry. Efficient agricultural policies should be coherent and effective to aid the agricultural sector in developing its potential and achieving primary public policy objectives.

Having skills in monitoring and evaluation in agriculture can help in ways such as allowing project managers in adjusting their activities to the needs and constraints of farmers, and providing planners and the policy makers with relevant information on agricultural changes. M&E also helps the agricultural professionals in removing any policy dis-incentives to resilience and sustainability.

Adaptability

The adaptability skill can be transferred from one sector to industry to another. Whatever one is taught in the class one should transfer the same in the real life scenarios. Just like in every sector, the agricultural professionals should adequately address various challenges and obstacles by adopting new technologies. One should be open to change.

Knowledge on Value Chain

Today, agricultural market is global thus new means of production and increase in consumption pattern because of a wide market for the goods.  As a result, knowledge in value chain is a great skill for every agricultural professional. It entails having sufficient knowledge on the flow of agricultural products and being aware of what goes on from the small scale farmers to the consumers. Understanding the linked activities that are involved in adding value to a product, as well the involved players and activities through which the product is improved.

Globalization is offering different opportunities for expansion of their business in the international markets, and agriculture plays a fundamental role in ensuring sustainable development.

Every agricultural professional should endeavor to be skilled in value chain as multinational companies and local companies as well are embracing and playing a significant role in growth of value chain. Besides, every developing country should seek ways of improving value chain so as to increase the income of small scale farmers. For this to be possible, all the players should have sufficient knowledge on value chain.  

The above is simply a list of some of the skills that every agricultural professional should have. However, the list is not exhaustive. Join us at uphilos.com and participate in various courses targeted at agricultural professionals. Some of our most popular agriculture courses are Agricultural Value Chain Development & Market Linkages, and  Farmer Organizations among many others. Click on agriculture to find out more about our upcoming courses in different fields.

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