Horticulture is the branch of agricultural science dealing with the cultivation of fruits, vegetable, nuts and ornamental. It also covers floriculture, or the cultivation of flowers, and other agricultural practices. Pomology, arboriculture and landscape architect etc. are the various divisions of this science. The increasing demand for fresh and hygienically packaged fruits and vegetables has changed this occupation from a kitchen-garden kind of activity into an organized area of agriculture. Also In the area of floriculture the export potential is very good and therefore the prospects for horticulture specialists are extremely bright. With technological advancement, great emphasis is also being put on improving regular varieties of fruits and vegetables for processing purposes, creating exotic species for decorative and commercial purposes, and mass scale multiplication of species for increased productivity.
The geographical location of various developing countries , with their varying soil and climatic conditions and the advantage of three harvests a year, as well as an abundant labour force, provides ample opportunities for the growth of a range of agri-products throughout the year.B.Sc in agriculture or horticulture serves as an entry ticket to this field. The basic eligibility criterion for a B.Sc. in horticulture is 10+2 with sciences including Physics and Biology. Horticultural courses provide information on food safety, health benefits, ecologically sound lawn and gardening techniques, relationship between horticulture and human health and their relevance in urban programming. Separate undergraduate courses are usually not available and it is treated as a subject in agriculture. However, one can pursue M.Sc in horticulture after completing graduation in agriculture or allied science. An M.Sc in horticulture offers specializations in floriculture, pomology (cultivation of fruits), and olericulture (cultivation of vegetables). PhD degree courses are also available in this field. Besides educational qualifications one must possess ability to put in long hours, often outdoors, and in varying climatic conditions; perseverance; knowledge of seasonal plants, local plants and soil etc.
In this field one finds job in govt. sector or as scientist or in the education field as a Lecturer, Reader, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor in Agricultural Universities and Colleges. many organizations employs horticulturists as Training Organizer & Training Associate. One may also be employed at positions like District Horticulture Officer/ District Agriculture Officer, Horticulture Inspector / Fruit & Vegetable Inspector / Marketing Inspector, Farm Supervisor, Agricultural Inspector etc. Experienced horticulturists can become plantation assistants or quality inspectors for commercial canning in quick-freezing stations or packaging for the domestic and export market. Various avenues for self employment are open, including setting up one’s own farm for growing fruits, vegetables or flowers, or ornamental plants ; running nurseries or being employed in an advisory capacity with an organization that deals with horticultural activities. Development and maintenance of town and country parks, picnic areas, and golf courses, as also landscaping of gardens, lawns, hot-houses and nurseries are other areas handled by horticulturists.