TOWARDS NEW PROFESSIONALISM OF AGRI PROFESSIONALS
With the global demand for food expected to rise by 60% by 2050, agricultural production will be placed under increasing pressure to provide more outputs at a time when the competition for inputs is intensifying. For meeting the demands of outputs and inputs, production efficiencies have to be improved; and producers will need to become even more resilient and adaptable, to counter the impact of change, and the volatility of future markets. Several issues may help producers performing at maximum efficiency like: relevant practical research, appropriate routes of knowledge exchange and the application of innovation at farm level. Increase of investment in the agricultural sector – by both public and private – is also a booster of involvement. Such “investment” is generally R&D, technology, new buildings or equipment. To realize its full potentiality, the pre-requisite investment in skills and its human resource is a must.
India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fisheries account for 13.7 per cent of the GDP in 2013, employing 50 per cent of the workforce. With a declining trend, agriculture is demographically still the broadest economic sector and plays a significant role in the over-all socio-economic fabric in India. Indian agriculture has also passed through green, white, yellow, blue and cyber revolutions; and achieved revolutionary benefits for the farmers. Information has now-a-days penetrated among masses as a critical resource for people in rural areas as well as urban areas. Instant access to information on the availability of inputs, financial resources, technological innovations and changing market conditions has become critical to the viability of rural economy.
In Assam, level of skill and technology of farmers and service approach of agricultural development workers developed tremendously in a systematic manner due to adoption of Benor Plan in Agriculture Department. And Dr Mahammed Ariz Ahammed was instrumental in developing professionalism in agriculture and all allied development departments in Assam during his tenure as the Join Secretary to the Govt of Assam, Agriculture Department and the Chief Executive Officer, Assam Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (ASFAC), Guwahati. Now, what is professionalism?
Being professional might mean dressing smartly at work, or doing a good job for some persons. Having advanced degrees or other certifications, framed and hung on the office wall may mean professionalism to many others. Professionalism means all of these simple definitions. But something more is needed to be completely professional in our day-to-day role, so that we can present a really professional image in the workplace.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines professionalism as “the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person”; and it defines a profession as “a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation.”
The Key Traits of Professionalism, highly valued in the workforce are: (a) Specialized knowledge, (b) Competency, (c) Honesty and integrity, (d) Respect, (e) Accountability, (f) Self-regulation and (g) Image. To improve our own professionalism, we should focus on improving in each of these areas.
Professionals are the kind of people that others respect and value. They are a genuine credit to their organizations. Therefore, we work to earn a professional reputation in the workplace. True professionals are the first to be considered for promotions, they are awarded valuable projects or clients, and they are routinely successful in their careers.
When we demonstrate these characteristics to the people around us, it is likely we already possess some characteristics, but we may find ourselves lacking in others: to build our own professionalism, we are to focus on improving each of these characteristics, focusing on one at a time, so we don’t get overwhelmed.
To become more professional in the workplace, we are to adopt some further strategies like building Expertise, developing Emotional Intelligence, honouring own Commitments, being Polite, having the Tools needed and focussing on improving our Time Management and Planning Skills.
It may be noted that although professionalism means keeping commitments, doing high quality work, and having expert status, occasionally the pursuit of these attributes might tempt us not to volunteer for projects that fall outside our “comfort zone.”
We are to analyze risks beforehand to minimize the consequences of getting things wrong, being honest about any skills gaps that we have, and work to fill them. Then we are to do the best we possibly can.
(Courtesy: Some parts of it are shadowed from various professional journals)
~Manik CS Bordoloi,