Plants make up the majority of earth’s living environment as trees, grasses, flowers etc. They are the only higher organisms that can convert the energy of sunlight into stored, usable chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Having numerous functions including maintenance of ecological balance plants hold a great significance as a part of healthy environment. However they also get sick, attacked by pests, affected by environmental pollution and show nutrient deficiencies. Plants also suffer from competition with other unwanted plants ( weeds ) and of course the other animals are also damage them.
Hence it becomes all the more important to keep them in good health, since they are the ones who actually keep us alive, feed us, protect us, cure us, clothe us, and entertain us with their aesthetic value. A healthy plant is relatively free from biotic and abiotic stress that limits its producing potential. Serious pest problems are a prominant fact of life in present agriculture and forestory.
According to one of the estimates, the world crop losses are about 35% out of which about 12% are due to insect and mites, 12% due to plant pathogens, 10% due to weeds and 1% due to mammals and birds and are worth about 200,000 crores annually. Additional loses occur after harvest. Effective control of pests remains an absolute necessity and thus for has been achieved by an impressive array of various plant protection techniques. Plant Protection a branch of Agricultural Sciences which studies the ways to keep the plants healthy by protecting them from various damages especially with an aim of higher production. Here are some tips regarding how a person can get into the field of Plant Protection, make a career and become a plant doctor or plant protection scientist.
On the basis of kinds of damage to plants there are a number of sub-branches of Plant Protection Sciences such as Plant Pathology ( Etiology, management of diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, viroids, virusoids, phytoplasmas etc ), Plant Entomology or Entomology ( Insects ), Plant Nematology or Nematology ( Nematodes ), Weed sciences ( weeds ) etc.
Foreign Universities :
A candidate can also move abroad for Masters or Doctorate studies in Plant Protection subjects, it has great scope in the countries like US, UK, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand etc. All he has to do is to clear the English eligibility test like TOEFL or IELTS and apply to the universities along with reference letters and proper research proposal or statement of research interests. There are various scholarships such as Commonwealth, Felix, Ford Foundation, Foreign universities scholarships, Private scholarships & Fundings as well as Loan scholarships, which will help the candidate financially.
Private Sector :
After Masters or Doctorate degree various agro – based companies and multinationals are a good option for a candidate. Such companies need research workers, managers and research associates for their R & D units. These private companies enlist all fertilizer companies, seed companies, insecticides / pesticides companies, biofertilizer companies, biological control base companies etc.
Personal business / Agri – Clinics / Plant Health Clinics :
A candidate after getting expertise in the field of plant protection can establish the Plant pest diagnosis and management service centre or plant clinic in which the plant health problems can be solved. On annual basis the pest protection services can also be provided on contractual basis. An agri – Clinic operator has tremendous opportunities like, Field Consultation, Contract Research and Farming, on Farm Diagnosis of Plant Health problems, Forensic Plant health problems and support services for environmental professionals.
Plant Protection Courses and Institutes in India :
Plant Protection is a branch of Agricultural Science. There are a number of sub – branches of Plant Protection Sciences such as Plant Pathology ( Etiology, Management of diseases caused by Fungi, Bacteria, Viruses, Viroids, Virusoids, Phytoplasmas etc. ), Plant entomology or Entomology ( Insects ), Plant Nematology or Nematology ( Nematodes ), Weed sciences ( weeds ), etc. through entrance exams the candidate can take admission in various agriculture as well as non-agriculture Universities. The number of seats both JRF and Non – JRF may vary depending upon the approval of number in seats in different universities by the time of counseling and admission.
Training in plant protection and in the related subjects are being provided by the following institutions regularly : National Plant Protection Training Institute, Rajendra Nagar, Hyderabad, Environment Protection Training & Research Institute, Gochibowli, Hyderabad, Division of Forest Entomology, FRI, Dehradun, Institute of Indian Bio – informatics, Training in Plant Protection, Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture etc.
Opportunities exist in government sector, private sector and personal business. After a candidate has received his Masters degree or Ph. D degree in Plant Protection or any of its branches he can opt for any of the aforesaid sectors.
Plant Pathology Departments :
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Pay – Package :
Plant pathologists find jobs mainly in research labs, agricultural development organizations under Indian Council of Agricultural Research ( ICAR ) as well as in universities as teachers / professors. One who qualifies Junior Research Fellowship ( JRF ) can perform research work in this field. The fellowship is 12,000 per month. They can also be eligible for doing Senior Research Fellowship ( SRF ) and Research Associate ship ( RA ) under different research laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ( CSIR ), Indian Council of Agricultural Research ( ICAR ), CCRAS etc., and all Central and States Universities where research projects are going on. The fellowship is 16,000 – 25,000/- p.m. depending upon qualification ( M.Sc and Ph.D. ) and different funding agencies.