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Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) - Tools for Rural Transformation
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma1/28/2020 9:42:36 PM
Agriculture is an engine of growth and development and a significant contributor to the national economy which has been greatly influenced by the process of globalization. There is a matter great concern about imbalance of total production, the urban-rural divide, national food security and economic access to food. The agricultural strategy in the country seeks to bridge the product and production gaps. The policy envisages promotion of sustainable agriculture through a regionally differentiated approach, improvement in the input use efficiency, development and transfer of technology. There is a need to focus on technology generation and its application in agro-ecological or social circumstances. India is one of the biggest food consumers in the world and there is dire need to keep our agricultural sector vibrant and alive for our food security. Agriculture continues to be an occupation and way of life for more than half of the Indian population. Majority of our country population owes its social, economic and even cultural life to this sector. Governments after governments gave the importance to agriculture but when it comes to policy making then it is left to struggle. There is a dearth of basic infrastructure in agriculture for instance irrigation, post-harvest facilities, research centres, loan facilities etc. which have impact on farmer income levels. India was facing the formidable famine in 1960s and then the Prime Minister Sh. Lal Bahadur Shastri successfully led the country to Green Revolution. With green revolution India became self-dependent in food production and leaped miles forward in staple food production. The sole objective of green revolution was to increase the crops productivity and acreage. This led to excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides and other agro-chemicals. Now the states like Punjab, the biggest beneficiary of green revolution has started facing the problem of soil health deterioration, reduction in crop productivity and high cost of cultivation. There is need to create awareness on the soil health management and sustainable agriculture.
Jammu and Kashmir is a mountainous Union Territory in which about 30 per cent of the area is under cultivation. Jammu and Kashmir is located between 32.17 and 37.06 North latitude and 73.2 and 80.36 East longitude in the Himalayan region. The agro-diversity of the UT varies from sub-tropical in Jammu region, temperate in Kashmir region. The average annual rainfall of these two regions is 1069mm and 660mm respectively. The average temperatures of these two regions are 24.5 and 13.3 Centigrade respectively. There is dire need to increase the income and employment in agriculture and allied sectors for the farmers in J&K. This is possible to increase the production and productivity of the crops and to enable the farmers to diversify their crop production. By adopting the modern technologies in agriculture and establishing the infrastructure for the farm production. There is need to promote the diversification in agriculture and move towards high value crops like vegetables, aromatic and medicinal plants, saffron, mushroom, beekeeping, silkworms, pulses etc. This UT is endowed with ample natural resources including soil, water, climatic condition, diversity, topography, rich natural flora etc. which are conducive for the cultivation of a wide range of crops. It is a matter of grave concern that the interest of younger generation in the UT is dwindling towards agriculture. Maize is first rank crop in J&K occupying one-third of the total cropped area, rice at number second in 28.58 per cent area of gross cropped area and wheat at number three which covers around 26 per cent of the total cropped area.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) also known as Farm Science Centers are agricultural extension centres created and nurtured by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and its affiliated institutions at the district level throughout the country to provide the agricultural technical guidelines to the farmers. In 1964-66, the Education Commission of Government of India under the chairmanship of Dr.D.S.Kothari gave recommendations for the application of science to productive process including agricultural education. A committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta was constituted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 1973 which further gave the recommendations for the establishment of KVKs in the country. The first Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) was established in 1974 at Pudducherry under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore by the ICAR, New Delhi and presently KVK system has grown as the largest network in the country. At present, the ICAR has established more than 640 KVKs all over the country under different organizations like State Agricultural Universities, the ICAR institutes, Deemed Universities, Central Institutes, State Governments and NGOs. In Jammu and Kashmir ICAR has established 20 KVKs under two agricultural universities SKUAST-Jammu, SKUAST-Kashmir and one KVK under Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH). These KVKs are playing a pivotal role in transformation in rural areas of the UT by updating the rural people about the latest agricultural technologies. The KVKs empower the farmers through need-based farmers awareness/ trainings and helpful to change the socio-economic status of the different categories of the farmers. Throughout the UT the Krishi Vigyan Kendras play a vital role in conducting on- farm testing to demonstrate location specific technologies, lay out Front Line Demonstrations(FLDs) to prove the production potential of various crops at farmers fields, impart need-based and skill oriented training to the practicing farmers, farm women, rural youths and in-service extensional functionaries.KVK also creates awareness on improved technologies through various extension methods, produce and provide improved quality seeds, organic inputs, biofertlizers, planting material, livestock, poultry, fisheries etc. to the farmers and work as agricultural knowledge centers for the public, private and voluntary organizations. These Kendras cater the needs of those who wish to be self-employed or those who are already employed. There is no specific syllabus for the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs). The programmes and action plan of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras are designed according to the needs, resources and potential for the agricultural growth in a particular area and is finally decided by involving the Chief Agriculture Officer and allied departments heads, Panches/Sarpanches and also progressive farmers of the district.
Follow-up of extension programmes are conducted after trainings in order to get the impact of the trainings and Front Line Demonstrations (FLDs) and proper documentation of the programmes is also done by the KVKs. The KVKs also take the help of mass media (electronic and print both) for timely dissemination of agricultural information even to the farmers of far-flung areas. Co-ordination of various development departments and private agencies plays a vital role for the success of extension programmes of KVKs. The KVKs also conduct technology weeks to create awareness among the farmers about the latest technologies in agriculture and allied sectors and disseminate the agricultural information to the farmers of respective districts through short message service (SMS) portals. Through impact assessment it has been observed that with the introduction of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in the state the adoption rate of modern agricultural technologies have been increased and majority of the farmers of the state are using hybrid/improved/high yielding varieties of maize, paddy, wheat, pulses, oilseeds etc. KVKs are diverting the farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming. Krishi Vigyan Kendras are said to be the agricultural knowledge hubs for the farmers' prosperity in the state.
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