Agriculture-based industries increased their hiring, particularly through online resources, in the first 11 months of this year, with agritech, hybrid seeds, fertilizers and the crop protection segments witnessing robust recruitment growth.

According to employment website, e-recruitment by the industries increased by an average of 8.2 per cent during January-November this year with recruitment being highest in April when it increased 20 per cent.

The increase in hiring by the agriculture sector is in line with a study made by the National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP) that said 55 per cent of the employers in the sector planned to make recruitments in agriculture and agrichemical units in the second half of this year.

Growth returns in Nov

Sekhar Garisa, CEO, told BusinessLine that the agro-based industries witnessed ups and downs this year but observed an overall positive trend.

After a lull during August-October, when e-recruitment increased by a meagre one per cent, it increased by five per cent in November. Last November, hiring had dropped two per cent.

Garisa said apart from agritech, seeds, fertilizers and crop protection segments, services aligned to warehouses and cold storages saw an uptick in hiring. “So did jobs related to agricultural and processed food products exports. External demand is also driving exports in this sector,” he said.

More Maharashtra firms hire

The agriculture sector will likely witness major growth with growers moving towards organic farming and digital transformation, the CEO said, responding to a question if the trend would sustain.

Nearly 60,000 agro-based industries - large, medium and small - had recruited personnel this year with over 10,000 firms in Maharashtra hiring new hands, followed by Tamil Nadu (over 6,000) and West Bengal (over 5,000).

Most agro-based industries looked for workers, while other recruitments were for purchase, research hands and scientists, farm managers, agriculture and environmental engineers, marketing executives, analysts, breeders, including animals, biochemists, and business development executives and agronomists.

Situation improving’

Garisa said the situation in the agriculture sector was improving after it faced a major shortage of labour during the pre-Covid period. “Workers had shifted to non-farm sectors in search of a better livelihood before the pandemic set in,” he said.

However, the Covid pandemic had altered the scenario drastically due to uncertainty in jobs and fixed source of income in sectors such as construction.

“Workers began trickling back to agriculture. Many initiatives have also been taken by the Indian Government to strengthen agri-technology,” the CEO said.

In addition, the release of new plant varieties by research institutions resulted in reducing efforts needed to cultivate crops.

Earlier, NETAP said 1.77 lakh apprenticeships were created in the first half this year, while robust hiring was expected in the second half with the market recovering from the economic concerns emanating from the Covid pandemic.