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    Strengthening agricultural extension for rural prosperity.

  • Date : 12 February, 2020

    It has been observed that In India, above 70 per cent of the farmers are resource poor, comprising marginal and small farmers. They do not fully adopt the technologies recommended by extension workers because of numerous reasons. It has been observed that many of these recommendations are not compatible with the farming system of the farmers and this leads to the failure of adoption of these technologies. The opinion of these farmers is not taken while designing and developing the agricultural technologies. The developed technologies must be according to the requirements of the farmers in their farming situations. The existing extension approach is questioned for being mainly push type. The extension workers took the developed technologies to the farmers irrespective of their applicability and suitability of the farming system. There is a dire need to identify and delineate the specific farming situation or recommendation domain to which the specific intervention could suit. There is need to develop the appropriate, location specific, ecological sustainable and economically viable technologies that could be compatible and suitable for the resource poor farmers inevitable. Several methods such as farming systems research and extension, broad based approach, technology assessment and refinement (TAR) through institution-village linkage programme etc. have been initiated in this direction. The matching of the technology with the farming systems characteristics are operationalised through such methods. Moreover the traditional system of the farmers need to be appreciated, documented and validated in order to bring them under the domain of appropriate technology. The traditional technologies can be used with the modern technologies.

    Agricultural extension as a profession has completed more than five decades of its existence. Extension and research are the cardinal pillars of agricultural development of any country. Substantial contribution has been made by the extension profession for the development of farmers. In order to get the true potential, the India needs to go a long way to meet the challenges to increase the agricultural and animal production from the available resources, keeping in mind the ecological and environmental sustainability. There is dire need to tune our technology transfer system in line with the national and international level. Farmer is backed with many sources of extension services. The extension services are provided to the farmers by the government institutes, directorates, research centers, input companies, NGOs, agro-processors, cooperatives etc. The agricultural extension and supported extension services are unique in structure and function. Interestingly, agricultural extension is not restricted to single fixed programme rather it adjusts according to the changing needs of the society. Now the time has come to assess as to how the effectiveness of this profession could be increased to achieve our cherished goal of developing agriculture. In order to mitigate the challenges in the new millennium, there is dire need to redefine the structure and functions of agricultural extension. Also to make agricultural extension more viable and efficient tool of technology transfer, several issues must be addressed so that it can be further meaningful to accommodate with the changing scenario of agricultural research and development in future.

    Technology transfer is a process for creating the awareness among the farmers about the new technologies, then generating interest about the given technology, creating conviction so that they can evaluate it within their own agro- climatic conditions and finally adopt it to increase their crops production. It has been observed that there are five factors which mainly limit the process of technology transfer. These include the limited availability of location specific technology and the low degree of ability to understand risk and uncertainty, lack of strong support systems, weak economic base of the households and farm resources, weak infrastructure and market structure have increased the bottlenecks in technology transfer process. Over the years many models have been developed in India and in abroad for developing effective and functional linkages between researchers and farmers. But there is no single extension system which can be described as the best model in all the countries for all the farmers. The extension models need to be drawn, modified and adopted according to the farming system of the farmers.

    The technology transfer paradigm is mainly of two types namely-i) TOT (transfer of technology), which is simple and indicate the linear relationship between research, extension and farmers. The technologies are transferred through a pipeline. ii) Circular model of TOT (transfer of technology), which helps to bring researchers and farmers much closer through much emphasis on adaptive researches in farmer’s field. It helps for the two-way communication and development of multiple options for innovations. Both the models of TOT suggest evolving a paradigm of TOT which could be most appropriately considered by the extension wing. Any agricultural extension system is related to its ability to build and maintain the linkages of various types. A research-Extension-Farmers linkage acts as a backbone for implementing participatory methodologies at the field level. Emphasis is also required for developing linkages with the systems such as NGOs, farmers’ producer organizations (FPOs), input agencies and other formal and informal knowledge and information systems. Although lot of efforts have been made by the Indian Govt. but still there exists weak linkage between research, extension and farmers. In order to strengthen linkage between research, extension and farmers, there is a need to institutionalize more number of structural mechanisms and simultaneously there frequency of activities has to be kept regular as well as contingent. The feedback of activities is also very important to analyze the impact.

    Indian women play a pivotal role in the agriculture. The female population of India constitutes about 48 per cent of the total population. It has been reported that 79.40 per cent of all economically active women are engaged in agriculture as compared to 63.33 per cent of men. Women role in agriculture and livestock farming is very important. The technology related to agriculture and livestock farming must reach to the women farmers. It has been observed that the limited impact of new technologies on rural women is due to the factors viz. their neglect by the extension workers who are mostly men, lack of authorities to them, lack of their participation in development process and lack of gender-based technology. This is a global issue and needs more attention as women play an important role in agriculture. For an effective extension system there is a need to have well defined objectives and priorities of extension programmes, effective linkages with the other organizations such as research, financial institutions, marketing systems, input suppliers etc. Also there is a need of adequate financial support and adequate number and well trained and motivated officials who can train effectively to the farmers.

    Source ( StateTimes)


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