Work in agriculture is a key component in supplying food products, alternative energies and other important resources for sustaining a country.
The Malaysian Department of Statistics reported that agriculture contributed 7.1 percent or RM 101.5 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, with over 1.5 million people employed in the sector.
For those looking to work outdoors or work with animals, a career in agriculture is a good option, as fieldwork often places workers in natural environments for extended periods of time.
There are many career opportunities in agriculture beyond being a farmer. In fact, the field is now highly mechanised and the processes and practices are constantly evolving to catch up with technology.
As a result, agriculture as an economic sector is reliant on the hard work of agricultural scientists and engineers while the business side of it needs commercially intelligent workers to focus on aspects of strategy and finance.
This field tends to work as consultants that provide business and financial guidance, as well as technical understandings that improve produce efficiency.
Most entry-level openings positions are farm hands, engaging in manual labour such as general handiwork.
At a higher level, farm managers manage their workers, oversee the administrative side of running a farm, control budgets and work with other clients such as food suppliers.
The research and development side of agriculture is highly important as well to improve processes and procedures.
Agricultural scientists mostly work in laboratories and conduct experiments and research to improve production methods.
Other scientists may focus on investigating animal or crop diseases and create cures for veterinarians and farmers to use.
Engineers in this field focus on the mechanical side of agriculture, often involved in designing, developing, installing and maintaining machinery and vehicles that improve the efficiency of farm work, production and harvesting.
Consultants offer guidance on the finances and business of running a farm, or advise on technical skills which will help farmers improve their operational processes and efficiency.
These positions are necessary to improve efficiency and increase profits for the farmers in order to assure plentiful resources for the people.
To get started in working in agriculture, some universities in Malaysia offer wide-ranging agricultural courses. For example, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has a Faculty of Agriculture, offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Agricultural-related courses are also available at private tertiary institutions; UCSI University offers a Diploma in Aquaculture with Entrepreneurship, while Curtin University offers a Master of Science in Sustainable Aquaculture.
Agriculture always needs people of different educational backgrounds, as there are diverse roles to fill in this ever-changing sector.