Prof. K. V. Thomas Inaugurates National Consultation Meet on Future Approaches in Agricultural Extension

New Delhi 01 November, 2010

Prof. K. V. Thomas Inaugurates National Consultation Meet on Future Approaches in Agricultural ExtensionProf. 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.”

Noted agricultural scientist and Member of Parliament Dr. M. S. SwaminathanReferring 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 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) 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. Abhijit Sen lauded the role of KVKs in agricultural development and emphasized on sharing of knowledge and ideas for effective dissemination of appropriate technologies. Noted agricultural scientist and Member of Parliament Dr. M. S. Swaminathan elaborated the right to food security and expressed his deep concern over higher global hunger index of the country. He suggested that KVKs may be transformed into agricultural industry centers to make the agriculture more profitable. Secretary, DARE and D.G., ICAR, Dr. S. Ayyappan welcomed the guests and elaborated on the objectives of the National Consultation. Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperation, Shri P. K. Basu; Dr. R.S. Paroda, Former Secretary, DARE and D.G., ICAR and Chairman, TAAS; and Dr. Panjab Singh, Former Secretary, DARE and D.G., ICAR also addressed the inaugural session. Earlier, Deputy Director General, Agricultural Extension (ICAR), Dr. K.D. Kokate made an interesting and elaborate presentation on objectives, achievements and wide network of KVKs in the country along with future projections.

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