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Focus on Providing Information to Farmers about Improved Agricultural Technologie

Most of the Centrally Sponsored and Central Sector Schemes implemented by the Government focus on extending benefits of modern agricultural technology to small and marginal farmers either by way of having preferential norms of assistance for them or emphasize on certain percentage of allocation to be spent on them or earmark resources based on number of small and marginal farmers. These extension efforts are then supplemented by robust delivery mechanism.

Main extension system mandated for dissemination of technologies among farmers is operated by the State Governments.  However, in order to assess, refine and demonstrate latest technologies in farmer’s field, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has created a network of 638 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the country.  During the year 2013-14, the KVKs have conducted as many as 33791 On-farm trials and 1.71 lakh Frontline Demonstrations on farmers field and updated the knowledge and skills of 16.06 lakh farmers

Ongoing initiatives which focus on providing knowledge and information to farmers

1.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension  (SMAE) under National      Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)

i)<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Support to State Extension Programme for Extension Reforms “ATMA” – a Scheme which was launched in 2005. The initiative is currently under implementation in 639 District of 29 States and 3 UTs. The focus is on promoting decentralized farmer-driven and farmer- accountable extension system through an institutional arrangement for technology dissemination in the form of an Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) at district level which is responsible for extending the benefits of latest agricultural technologies in different thematic areas to the farmers including small and marginal farmers through various extension activities namely Farmers Training, Demonstration, Exposure Visit, Kisan Mela, Mobilization of farmer groups and Setting up of Farm Schools. Over 290 lakh farmers have been benefited under this scheme since inception in 2005-06 to 2013-14.

ii)<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Mass Media Support to Agricultural Extension and Focused Publicity Campaigns has been strengthened to reach out to all farmers including small and marginal. The Audio & Video Spots and success stories are being aired through All India Radio, Doordarshan and Private Channels operating at the National and Regional Level.  The other component of the mass media initiative is use of 96 FM Transmitter of AIR to broadcast area specific agricultural programmes with 30 minutes radio transmission in the evening six days a week. Focused Advertisement Campaigns which cut across all the Divisions of the Ministry have been continuing since July 2010. The campaigns are being launched through print as well as electronic media to create awareness about the assistance available under various schemes of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation.

iii)<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Centres: The Scheme provides extension services to farmers including small and marginal farmers on payment basis through setting up of economically viable self – employment ventures by the candidates provided agri-preneurship training for a period of two months. The scheme has turned out to be an efficacious and cost effective mode of providing extension services to the farmers.   Since inception of the scheme 38364 unemployed agriculture Graduates have been trained and 15626 agri-ventures have been set up to June, 2014.

iv)<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””> Information dissemination through Agri Fairs:  The farmers are being provided information related to the modern agricultural technologies through National, State and Regional level Exhibitions/ Fairs.

v)<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Kisan Call Centres (KCCs) Agriculture related information is provided to the farmers through Kisan Call Centres having toll free telephone lines accessible through all mobile phones and landlines of all telecom networks including private service providers. Replies to the farmer’s queries are given in 22 local languages between 6.00 am to 10.00 pm on all seven days of the week. The KCCs set up at 14 locations have been restructured to provide various technological innovations such as Voice/Media Gateways (IPPBX based decentralized system); Dedicated MPLS leased line network with   dedicated   bandwidth; Call   barging; SMS  to   caller farmers  providing  a  gist of advisories given to them on phone Voice mail system for recording farmer’s queries during idle time of KCC or during call lines busy, with provision for call back to the caller etc. Since inception of the scheme, over 158.10 lakh calls have been received till May, 2014.

vi)<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Kisan SMS Portal was launched during July, 2013 to send information, provide services and give advisories to farmers in their local language, in respect to their location and for preference of crops/ agricultural practices, market prices, weather reports, soil test reports etc. The system is capable of sending messages in regional languages also. More than 106.13 crore SMSs (considering 2.7 SMSs for one message) have been sent to farmers in 11 months since launch of SMS Portal. The registered farmers have been grouped based on the State, Districts, Block and the Crops/ Activities selected by farmers.

2.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””> Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization  (SMAM) under National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) promotes strengthening of agriculture mechanization through training, testing, distribution of post harvest technology and management, providing financial assistance for procurement of agricultural machinery and equipment, for establishing farm machinery banks, high-tech, high productive equipments for custom hiring and also promoting farm mechanization in selected village.

3.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””> National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) Under National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP)  assistance is provided to State Department of Agriculture/Horticulture for all types of farmers including small and marginal farmers for block demonstration, Farm Field School (FFS), training, supply of improved farm implements, plant protection equipments/chemical etc.

4.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””> National project on Organic farming is benefiting small and marginal farmers by promoting organic farming through various programme namely National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) under NMSA, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and network project on organic farming under ICAR.

5.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””> National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture is providing financial assistance for promotion of organic inputs on farmers field @500/- per hectare. Assistance is provided @200/- per farmer subject to maximum of Rs. 5000/- per group for organic village adoption for manure management.  Under NMSA focus is being given on Integrated Farming System with appropriate Resource Conservation technologies for enhancing productivity and minimizing risk associated with climatic variability.  Mission also promotes advance technologies like micro-irrigation, green house etc. for small and marginal farmers with specific pattern of assistance.

6.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””> National Food Security Mission (NFSM): Under National Food Security Mission, Cluster demonstration on direct seeded rice/line transplanting/SRI; drainage management in waterlogged areas on Rice-Wheat system, demonstration on front-line technology on hybrid varieties, distribution of improved varieties/hybrids, plant and soil management, agricultural mechanization, resource conservation techniques/energy management, efficient water/application tools, cropping system based trainings are being provided.  Under the Mission, Pulses demonstrations of production and protection technologies on village level compact blocks for enhanced production of pulses as well as motivating farmers to take up pulses production are also being undertaken.  The awareness generated through demonstration to the farmers has triggered substantial increase in the use of high yielding varieties of wheat and rice. Capacity Building to the farmers is through Farmer Field Schools which help farmers in adoption of new/ modern agricultural technologies.

This information was given today by the Minister of State for Ministry of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Balyan in a written reply to Lok Sabha question.