Agricultural economics or agronomics is an applied field of economics concerned with the application of economic theory in optimizing the production and distribution of food and fibre—a discipline known as agronomics. Agronomics was a branch of economics that specifically dealt with land usage.
According to Wikipedia Agricultural economics originally applied the principles of economics to the production of crops and livestock. However in modern times it covers many fields, all of which utilize the application of core concepts and principles of economics.
In agricultural economics, economists apply theories and principles of economics to better understand and optimize agricultural markets. Those in agricultural economics address problems ranging from clean air and water to questions regarding how poverty can be alleviated. Relationships between supply and demand are examined using data, statistics and market trends.
Scope of Agricultural Economics
Similar to economics, the field of agricultural economics finds to seek relevance between cause and effect using the most advanced methods, i.e., production function and programming models. It uses theoretical concepts of economics to provide answers to the problems of agriculture and agri-
business. Initially earnest efforts were made by the economists to use the economic theory to agricultural problems. Now the subject of agricultural economics is enriched in many directions and fields, taking the relevant tools of sciences particularly mathematics and statistics.
Agriculture is the integral part of the world food system, having the foundation links between crops and animal production system. Agricultural economists here have to play a major role in understanding the intricacies involved in the foundation systems. The students of agricultural economics should have a clear insight and understanding of the influence of climatic conditions in determining as to how the commodities are produced and marketed in line with the consumption needs.
Skills and Competencies that You Need to Succeed as an Agricultural Economist
An agricultural economist should be curious, observant, logical, analytical and methodical to explore agricultural economic events and develop accurate forecasts. They should also be able to communicate effectively and tolerate people who think differently from them.
Agricultural economists need to have:
- humility and confidence
- honesty and dependability
- good memory
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- observational skills
- time-management and organizational skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- math and computer skills
- sales and marketing skills
- leadership skills
- the ability to work well independently and as part of a team
- the ability to stay up to date with current events
- the ability to identify problems, predict outcomes and evaluate policies
- the ability to work well under pressure
- knowledge of agricultural systems and techniques
- knowledge of economic methods and theories
- knowledge of agricultural business management
Career Opportunities for Agricultural Economics Graduates
What does an Agricultural Economist do?
Agricultural economists may do some or all of the following:
- design and develop agricultural surveys
- analyze and interpret data from the survey
- identify agricultural economic trends and develop forecasts
- apply economic theories and practices to agriculture
- develop marketing plans for agricultural products
- give advice and recommendations on agricultural economic policy issues
- write reports, make presentations and give speeches
- stay up to date with development in the agricultural industry
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does an Agricultural Economist work?
Places of work for agricultural economists include:
- Academic institutions
- Accounting firms / Financial institutions
- Agriculture (Farms, Research Institutes etc)
- Breweries, Distilleries, Bottling Plants
- Tobacco Companies
- Food Processing, agribusiness & Manufacturing Firms (eg flour mill, cassava processing plants, Cake makers)
- Furniture Manufacturing
- Leather Tanning, Footwear Manufacturing etc
- Logistics and Supply Chain
- Government Agencies & NGOs
- Sawmills, Paper Products Manufacturing
- Textiles Industries
Which job can Agricultural Economist do?
Graduates of Agricultural Economics in Nigeria can work as follows;
- Commodity Brokers
- Farm Managers
- Economists in Agricultural Research Institutes and Agro Allied Industries
- Agribusiness Manager
- Writer for Trade Journals, Magazines etc
- Research Assistants, Economists etc
Admission Requirements for Studying Agricultural Economics in Nigeria
For most high institutions in Nigeria, to study Agricultural Economics as a course, you need to meet specific academic requirements. Candidates seeking admission through the Jamb are required to have five credit level passes in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E.) or its equivalent. These should include English Language, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology/Agricultural Science and one of Geography, Physics and Economics. Some schools require a pass in Biology with credit in Agricultural Science. Some school accepts pass in Physics as well.
For Jamb UTME, English Language is Compulsory for this course. Chemistry, Biology/ Agricultural Science and Mathematics or Physics are also required. Please check Jamb brochure for requirements for each school.
For Direct Entry you require; Two‘A’ level passes in Chemistry and one of Zoology/Botany/Agricultural Science/Biology,Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Geology, Economics and Health Science.