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Introduction

T

amil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) rated as the best Agricultural University in India by Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, is an institute of excellence for higher education in Agricultural and allied subjects.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), GOI ranked TNAU as the first among the State Agricultural Universities in India. TNAU ranks 17th among “Universities” category and 28th among “Overall” category of academic institutions.

TNAU began as an Agricultural School at Saidapet, Chennai in 1876 and blossomed as a College in Coimbatore in 1906. In 1920, the college was affiliated to the University of Madras with the introduction of a three-year degree programme. Till 1946, the Agricultural College and Research Institute, Coimbatore was the only institute for agricultural education for the whole of South India. In 1958, it was recognized as a Postgraduate Centre for offering Masters and Doctoral degrees. The Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai was established in 1965. These two colleges formed the nucleus of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University when it was established in 1971 to offer four years B.Sc. (Agriculture) degree programme.

In the year 1972, two more programs i.e., B.Sc (Horticulture) and B.E (Agriculture) were started. In 1979, the faculty of Horticulture was established. To nurture the home grown innovations B.Sc (Home Science) was started at Madurai campus in 1980. This was later renamed as B.Sc. (Food, Nutrition and Dietetics) from 2017 onwards based on the recommendation of ICAR. The third Agricultural College was started at Killikulam in 1984 and the fourth at Navalur Kuttappattu, Tiruchirappalli in 1989. An exclusive B.Sc. (Forestry) program was started during 1985 at Coimbatore campus and later relocated to Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam in 1991.

Later, B.Sc. (Horticulture) programme was shifted to Periyakulam (1990) and B.E. (Agriculture) was shifted to Agricultural Engineering College and Research Institute in Kumulur (1992). B.E (Agriculture) was later renamed as B.Tech (Agricultural Engineering) in 2002. A new Horticultural College and Research Institute for Women was established during 2011 at Navalur Kuttappattu, Tiruchirappalli offering B.Sc. (Horticulture). A unique programme, B.Sc. (Sericulture) was started during 2011 at Agricultural College and Research Institute, Coimbatore and is being offered now at Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam.

In the backdrop of changing agricultural situation and developments in science and technology, TNAU introduced unique technology programs viz., B.Tech (Food Process Engineering) during 1998, B.Tech (Biotechnology) and B.Tech.(Horticulture) during 2002, B.Tech (Energy and Environmental Engineering) during 2004 and B.Tech (Bioinformatics) during 2006. B.S (Agribusiness Management) and B.Tech (Agricultural Information Technology) were started during 2007 in order to capitalize the potential of developments in agricultural information sciences.

Three new agricultural colleges viz., Agricultural College and Research Institute, Eachankottai, Thanjavur; Agricultural College & Research Institute, Valavachanur, Thiruvannamalai and Agricultural College & Research Institute Kudumianmalai, Pudukkottai were started during 2014. Moreover, 21 private colleges affiliated to TNAU offer B.Sc. (Ag.) and / or B.Sc. (Horti.) courses.