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Touted as one of the biggest steps in Gujarat’s agriculture sector, four agriculture universities of Gujarat will expand their wings by starting at least a dozen (12) colleges across the state that will include horticulture, agriculture biotechnology and a special woman tissue culture institute.
It is for the first time after the erstwhile Gujarat Agricultural University (GAU) was split into four agricultural universities in 2004 that such a major academic expansion is taking placing in agri education sector of Gujarat. If Anand Agricultural University (AAU) will start three new colleges including a horticulture college and two agriculture colleges, the Navsari Agricultural University (NAU) will start four new colleges including two agriculture colleges, an agriculture engineering college and an agriculture biotechnology college.
Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU) will start three new colleges including a horticulture college, an agri-engineering polytechnic and an agriculture college. Sardar Krushinagar-Dantiwada Agricultural University will start two new colleges including a horticulture college and an agriculture college. All this is being done as Gujarat which has carved a niche in agriculture growth by surpassing the national average is facing a tremendous shortage in-skilled manpower to support the growth of agro-based industries, rural banking system and faculties for academics.“Every year, there is a demand of nearly 35,000 agriculture graduates across the country whereas the supply of such graduates is 20,000 on the upper side resulting in a huge deficit of skilled manpower. In fact, Maharashtra and Rajasthan presently produce more number of agriculture graduates compared to Gujarat. The state government has granted us the permission to start the new colleges to meet the futuristic demand of agriculture graduates,” AAU’s vice-chancellor (VC) A. M. Sheikh told TOI. The university will begin academic operations of two colleges from this year. “We will be starting agri-biotechnology college at Surat which will be the first run by a Gujarat based agricultural university. This college will also house a special tissue culture training institute only for women,” said NAU’s VC A. R. Pathak. Last year, the intake capacities of all the four existing agriculture colleges of Gujarat were doubled. “Despite this there is crunch of skilled manpower. Of the nearly 450 graduates that pass out every year from these agriculture colleges, nearly 70 percent opt for higher studies. This leaves only a handful of graduates for recruitments even in agriculture department. We are happy that Gujarat government has accepted our demand and the new colleges will come up as per Indian Council for Agricultural Research guidelines,” added Pathak. “Even in the private sector, the demand for agriculture graduates has increased significantly. The permission to start the new colleges means that the requirement is finally being visualized as not only agriculture graduates, there is an acute shortage of professionals even in allied disciplines,” said JAU’s VC N. C. Patel. Each new college will have intake 40 to 50 students and around Rs 40 crore would be required to set up each of the colleges.
Courtesy: Times of India
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