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Technology Transfer for Rural Development
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma1/11/2019 9:22:46 PM
Spectacular progress has been achieved in agricultural production in the country during the last five decades which has been globally recognized. We have achieved record production of 252 million tonnes of food grains in 2011-12 which was only 50 million tonnes in 1960.Now we have huge buffer stocks of food grains. In the oilseed sector, there has been a quantum jump ushering in the yellow revolution increasing production of oilseeds to 35.6 million tonnes in 2011-12. The dairy sector has witnessed a white revolution. In Inland fisheries, the country has registered an unprecedented compound growth rate of 10% bringing in blue revolution. The growth in poultry production and horticulture sector is also appreciable. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) mandate is to plan, aid, undertake, promote and coordinate education, research and its application in agriculture and allied sciences. Now the population of India is over one billion, the remarkable achievements made in green, white, yellow and blue revolution need to be increased. Now we need not only more food but also calorie availability and food security. There is need for reorientation of both research and extension to function in an appropriate manner.
Now the front line transfer of technology of the ICAR includes a network of farm science centres commonly called as Krishi Vigyan Kendra's (KVKs) in all over the country and also 8 trainers training centres. At present, the KVKs activities include skill training of the farmers by providing work experience following the principle of learning by doing in agriculture, on farm testing to identify the location specificity of technologies, in service training of extension personnel to update their knowledge in agriculture, layout front line demonstrations to establish production potentials on farmers' fields and provide feedback. Now almost every district of the country is having one KVK and establishment of two KVKs in each district is in pipeline. KVKs have served the society in general and the Indian agriculture in particular. The front line extension projects were designed by the Council to organise front line demonstrations by the scientists to show the production potential of new agricultural technologies on farmers fields, testing the technologies for their location specificity, organizing extension activities in selected areas by the institutions, developing extension approaches and methodologies for field workers and getting feedback for improving research and extension.
ICAR has initiated many extension programmes over the years. The National Demonstration Project was initiated in 1965 to demonstrate the production potential of technology packages on major crops, to provide the researchers a firsthand knowledge of the problems faced by farmers in adoption of the technologies and to influence the extension system in the country by demonstrating the yield gaps and indicating the operational constraints. The Operational Project was initiated in 1975 to identify technological and socio-economic constraints and to formulate and implement the technologies modules on target group basis. ORPs broad objectives were to test the performance of new research results at farmers' fields under their existing resources, socio-economic and cultural conditions. The problems identified by the ORPs include salinity and sodicity due to improper water use in new irrigation systems and use of brackish sub-soil water, flood prone area; heavy pest incidence and environment degradation due to indiscriminate use of pesticides. Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes areas have the complex problems in terms of socio-economic constraints. Keeping this in view, ICAR started the programme on the basis of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes in 1979.The objectives of this project were to identify the technologies which were appropriate to existing socio-economic and agro-ecological situation and to establish link between the people and various developmental agencies. The ORP on Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes were an interface project with combination of both research methodologies and extension techniques. In 1979, as a part of Golden Jubilee Celebration, ICAR initiated Lab-to-Land Programme to transfer low cost technologies in agriculture and allied enterprises. The basic objective of this programme was to bring the scientists and farmers into close contact and to introduce appropriate technologies facilitating in diversification of labour use and creating supplementary sources of income in the fields of agriculture and allied enterprises. In 1992-93 all these projects were merged into KVK. In 1990-91, as part of Technology Mission on Oilseeds and Pulses, the Council took up front line demonstration on improved production technologies of oilseeds and pulses with a view to demonstrate its production potentials on the farmers plot and to organise need-based training for both farmers and subject matter specialists .In 1995 ICAR launched an innovative technology assessment and need-based refinement programme called as Institution Village Linkage Programme. It is based on participatory mode ensuring greater scientist- farmer linkage in bottom up approach. This programme is funded by World Bank under National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP).
In order to meet the changing needs, trained, equipped and committed to serve the society 'Technology Agents' are essential. Some KVKs of the country have already trained unemployed rural youths in vocational activities such as mushroom cultivation, sericulture, poultry production, nursery management etc. It is believed that integration of science with rural development activities would enhance the functional capability and required impact of extension activities. The KVK should not work as an independent agency rather other programmes in the district should be integrated to make it more useful and holistic. Present age is an age of information package and its dissemination is equally important. The establishment of Agricultural Technology Information Centre provides such mechanism beyond individual units of research institution.
All these initiates will require a strong interface between the research organizations and development departments at the centre, state and regional levels. An inter-divisional effort between crop science and extension division of ICAR has led to formulation and implementation of a project on Technology Evaluation and Impact Assessment through 60 KVKs covering 17 crops. Such mechanism has provided the first hand knowledge through on- the- job handling of promising technologies in the pipeline at the final stages of their testing before release and feedback to researchers from extensionists and the farmers. The new initiatives at the state level to own these KVKs will further strengthen the transfer of technology mechanisms at the grassroots level. The farmers in the world have a tradition of experimentation and developing indigenous knowledge for solution to many of their agricultural problems in harmony with nature. The researchers, policy makers and development professionals began recognizing the value to such knowledge. The key features of such indigenous knowledge are reducing risks, affordability, availability, compatibility with current practices, visible results within a reasonable amount of time and overall satisfying multiple needs. Documentation of such indigenous knowledge resources will provide a base to the agricultural researchers and extensionists.
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