Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
01-November-2010 17:04 IST
Prof. Thomas Calls for Appropriate Mix of Public and Private Funding in Agricultural Extension Services
Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has called for a pluralistic approach in agricultural extension services in the country with an appropriate mix of public and private funding and delivery mechanism.

Inaugurating a National Consultation Meet on Future Approaches in Agricultural Extension here today, Prof. Thomas said, “The extension approaches need to be size neutral and resource neutral with focus on cost reduction without yield reduction. The extension also needs to concentrate to enhance labour productivity with use of modern farm mechanisation technologies. Formulation and implementation of policies that are time bound and transparent with promotion of accountability will greatly strengthen the extension system.”

Referring to overall growth rate of 10% and agriculture sector growth rate of 4.1% visualised for the country, Prof. Thomas stated that extension can play a very vital role in general and KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) in particular to support the agriculture sector. He said that KVKs have provided a platform at district level to seek integration of efforts in realising technology application for sustainable agricultural development and enhanced livelihood security. The Minister further said that in recent past, KVKs have been provided with the desired support and guidance from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which includes the launching of several programmes involving a group of KVKs to work upon specific areas of intervention like climate resilience, resource conservation, fodder production, farm mechanisation, micro irrigation, pulses development, ICT interventions, etc. in order to ensure reach of the KVK to maximum number of farmers with solutions on important issues.

The Minister stressed that KVKs need more support in its capacity building and infrastructural support to become more efficient in its diagnostic, analytical and advisory role. He said, “Different agencies taking the support of KVKs must also try to build KVKs as a resource centre in the district. KVK need not be understood as a centre for organising large number of training programmes coming through different schemes in the district to different development departments. The role of KVK in a district have to be visualised as a consultation centre for seeking guidance by different departments to take up their own programmes successfully instead of overburdening the KVKs with the responsibility of different departments.”

Member Planning Commission, Prof. Abhijitsen, Secretary, DARE and D.G., ICAR, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Shri P.K. Basu, noted agricultural scientist and Member of Parliament Dr. M. S. Swaminathan also addressed the inaugural session.

The meeting has been organised by the ICAR. Vice Chancellors of Agricultural Universities, Directors of ICAR Institutes, officials of extension services in State Agriculture Departments and KVKs, progressive farmers and representatives of NGOs will debate and finalize future approaches in agricultural extension during the consultation meeting.