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Extension Strategy for Agricultural Sector in Bihar

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1 Extension Strategy for Agricultural Sector in Bihar
Dr.K.M.Singh, Director, State Agricultural Management & Extension Training Institute, Bihar Workshop on Extension Reforms in Bihar: Challenges and Strategies Patna, India

2 Introduction Agricultural extension system is at a pivotal point in its evolution. Investments in agricultural research and extension have served the state well in achieving food self-sufficiency. Hunger and malnutrition are persistent problems, and rural economic growth seems stalled at a lower level in the state as the rest of the economy moves forward at a quicker pace. This is the backdrop in considering the future direction for agricultural extension in Bihar.

3 What is agricultural extension?
Extension conventionally comprises several of the following functions: Diagnosis of farmers' socio-economic and agro-ecological conditions and of their opportunities and constraints. Message transfer through direct contact between extension agent and farmer or indirect contact involving intermediaries; through training courses and mass media. Feedback to researchers on farmers' reactions to new technology to refine future research agenda. Development of linkages with researchers, government planners, NGOs, farmers' organisations, banks, and the private commercial sector. Monitoring of the extension system, and Evaluation of its performance at farm level.

4 Public sector Extension
The philosophy of 'government must provide' should be replaced by one of seeking to: Withdraw from areas which can be serviced by commercial agencies; Pursue cost-sharing by having local organisations provide grassroots extension agents with whom the public sector can link; Complement the wide range of agencies who work with small farmers either directly, or indirectly Explore the scope for supporting input-supply organisations to provide more technical advice.

5 Public sector Extension
Extension sector reform must eventually address the complex problems of reward systems and accountability, creating an environment in which feedback, and participatory approaches to the design and testing of technology, will be more effective. Two provisions merit emphasis: There will remain a need to offer farmers particular technical knowledge and training in specific techniques which lie outside the purview of their own indigenous knowledge. Government's comparative advantage lies less in implementing participatory approaches directly than in supporting the efforts of locally-based organisations to do so, and in improving the facilitating environment, not only by getting prices right, but also by fiscal and administrative decentralization and the development of social and physical infrastructure.

6 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
1871: Establishment of Department of Agriculture at Central level entrusted with collection of statistics and revenue 1901: Famine Commission by British government- Recommended appointment of agricultural experts. 1919: Transfer of all rural departments to the provinces- decentralization 1928: Royal Commission on Agriculture-transfer of new research findings to farmers through demonstrations.

7 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
1947: Grow More Food (GMF) campaign started but was unsuccessful for want of a formal extension organization. 1948: Multi-purpose, Village Extension Worker. Etawah, UP as a pilot project, was the first example of peoples’ participation in rural development. 1952: Experiences of pilot project was precursor of the Community Development Programme (CDP) initiated by the Planning Commission. CDP was conceived as the main instrument of rural transformation in the country. Block was taken as the basic unit of development and administration. A team of Subject Matter Extension Officers posted to undertake extension work in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, cooperation, rural industries, social education, etc

8 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
1953: CDP scaled up as the National Extension Service (NES) to provide widespread extension coverage and with more people’s participation. This became the permanent extension setup for the country and still prevalent in Bihar. late 1950s: large-scale food deficits, thus compelling the Government to abandon its comprehensive rural development strategy and to concentrate solely on increasing food production. 1959: Intensive Agricultural District Program (IADP) or, as more commonly known, the Package Program on suggestion of the Ford Foundation with intensive efforts to increase food production by using a combination of technical know-how and concentrating manpower and resources in selected areas.

9 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
: High Yielding Area Programme : High Yielding Varieties Programme : The Farmers Training and Education Programme : Small and Marginal Farmers Development Programme : Training-and-Visit (T&V) Extension system on a pilot basis in the Chambal Command area of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It was an important milestone in the history of extension. It presumed that there was enough technology available awaiting diffusion to and adoption by farmers. the project was further extended to 17 other states in 1978–79. The CDP’s multi-purpose approach was gradually replaced by a single-line of command extension system that focused on the major food grains toward the national goal of food security.

10 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
The T&V Extension System was effective in disseminating Green Revolution technology, especially in the high potential, irrigated areas. It had little effect on the productivity and incomes among farmers in rainfed areas. T&V expanded the number of VEWs in the DOA, resulting in financial problems for state government. Most state government funds now go for salaries, Most extension activities are dominated by top-down, central government programs.

11 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
This resulted in extension being commodity and supply-driven, in contrast with a focus on diversification and farm income (i.e., being more market-driven). Green Revolution technology increased the production of food staples; therefore, commodity prices fell during the 1980–90s resulting in declining farm income. The emphasis on food security during the 1960–80s resulted in an extension system that was limited to the staple food crops. There was no integration of programs across departments (i.e., lack of a “farming systems” approach) By the 1990s, the different line departments primarily focused on the distribution of centrally funded subsidies and inputs. Finally, with the exception of donor sponsored schemes, extension gave very little attention to organizing farmers into groups and, thereby, empowering farmers.

12 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
: The central institutional innovation that emerged to explore new approaches to extension resulting in new, decentralized extension approach, which focuses more on diversification and increasing farm income and rural employment. these system problems was the Agricultural Technology Management Agency or “ATMA” model that was introduced at the district level to: Integrate extension programs across the line departments (i.e., more of a farming systems approach), Link research and extension activities within each district, and Decentralize decision-making through “bottom-up” planning that would involve farmers and the private sector in planning and implementing extension programs. This model was pilot-tested through the Innovations for Technology Dissemination (ITD) component of a World Bank-funded, National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) that started in 1998 and concluded in June 2005.

13 Review of Past Experiences in Extension
Experiences of ATMA model, brought out certain programmatic constraints too. They included: Need for further improvements in inter-department co-ordination Need for formation of farmers federations and their pro-active role; Fully operationalizing Block level extension machinery; Greater convergence of line department programmes at all levels; Need for promoting public-private partnerships and strengthening marketing linkages; ( Professional HRD approach in management of State Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institutes (SAMETIs.

14 Objectives of Bihar’s New Agricultural Policy
Food security Balanced nutrition Raising income level Agro-sustainability Where is Bihar today: Bihar has achieved self sufficiency in food grain production. Targeted rate of 5% (compounded 63% in ten years) against 2% growth in population. Production shall be raised from 119 lakh MT to 195 lakh MT in ten years. Major contribution shall come from Rice, Maize & Pulses.

15 Policy Issues that need to be Addressed
Initiatives have to be taken up for convergence between the programmes and schemes concerning technology dissemination, and convergence between Agriculture, A.H., Dairy, Sugarcane, Fisheries and Cooperative departments, needed urgently. Greater focus on organizing Farmers Organizations (FOs’) and federating them. Linking the FO to markets including retail outlets. Promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in different extension activities and operation of field programmes. Strengthening training institutions at regional level in terms of infrastructure, professional manpower and programme management. Capacity building of all the stakeholders. Package of support to women farmers. Support for demonstration of agro-processing technologies / enterprise activities. Promoting area specific agripreneurship. Internal Monitoring & Evaluation in Department of Agriculture.

16 Other Challenges before Extension System
To respond to food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation, diversifying market demand, export opportunities and environment Effective linkages between production and agro-processing for value added products Sustainable management of natural resources – land and water Public funding in extension is under considerable strain

17 Extension configurations for the future
Farmers obtain technical information from a wide range of sources. The boundary between public extension services and farmers is shifting. Farmers are reaching higher into the technology generation and transfer system in order to 'draw down' suitable technologies. View that 'government must provide' through blanket extension services reaching directly to farmers is outmoded. Most efficient extension services of the future should focus on spheres (geographical; thematic) inadequately serviced by the private commercial sector. Extension of future should aim to service in different ways and at different levels through multiple intermediate organisations who work with or for the farmers. Institutional pluralism and farmer participation are important facilitating conditions for effective extension.

18 Extension Scenario in Bihar
Almost all the extension models introduced so far still exist in the state, with little accountability, focus and work. The job of so called extension functionaries is also not clearly defined. The ever increasing gap in productivity, rising input costs and improving the quality of technology dissemination are major areas of concern which can only be addressed if there is a coordinated effort from all concerned Poor utilization of existing manpower which is overly bureaucratic in functioning as the Department lacks sufficient trained man power and drive to do field level extension work. Poor knowledge base and little efforts done to upgrade it. Maximum time devoted in non-agricultural works as assigned to them from time to time by their controlling officers.

19 Extension Scenario in Bihar
Many posts are vacant mostly at panchayat/ village level as the VEWs of the department have been assigned to work as Panchayat Secretaries, leading to severe shortfall of trained manpower to transfer technology at village level. Too many types of posts exist at state, division, district, and block levels, leading to confusion in role clarity and often the passing of buck is the name of the game. Poor linkage between the research and extension accept in old ATMA districts. Budgetary provisions insufficient to meet ever increasing establishment cost. The focus of the department presently limited to managing inputs like fertilizer, seeds, Leaving little time for actual field work.

20 Extension Scenario in Bihar
The need for Change Agents / Private Extension Agents is badly being felt with more participation from private sector. So far as private extension workers like NGOs, Private agencies etc are concerned there are almost no funds, man power or system of private sector participation for extension work in the district at present. The job being done by ATMA's on a very small scale and the coverage and extent of penetration of ATMA's limited due to lack of resource ( funds), manpower and necessary administrative support to them The response time of the department to new programs is poor leading to poor performance and a negative impact about states ability to take up innovative schemes in right earnest e.g. NHM, ATMA and other centrally sponsored schemes like ISOPOM, Macro Management mode etc..

21 Need to Reorganize the Extension Setup
There should be judicious distribution of work among the officers and staff of the department. The roles may need to be redefined in light of the changes taking place at the state, country and international level with the liberalization in place. There are too many central, centrally sponsored, state level and state sponsored schemes and programmes in the department, they must be converged to achieve better results. Schemes to be reorganized, refocused and the job to implement them has to be reassigned to competent officers to get better results than in past. The number of schemes has to be brought down, by merging different schemes, pooling staff and resources and putting right people at right place to implement them.

22 Reorganization -At Village Level
Village to be the starting point of the extension machinery but presence of technical staff at village level non existent and recruiting fresh workforce a ticklish issue. The VEWs work may be outsourced to Private Extension Agents (PEAs), drawn from the pool of agricultural graduates, Agriclinic and Agribusiness trained graduates or progressive farmers, having adequate training in improved agro technology. PEAs hired on contract for a fixed period and may be allowed performance linked incentives from time to time. It would relieve the state from permanent financial burden, as the department is already spending much of its budget on salaries and other non-plan expenditure. The PEAs may be re-engaged, after an independent agency has reviewed their performance, and found it satisfactory.

23 Reorganization -At Block Level
Block should be a primary unit for public extension activities. BAO to be made accountable for extension work in his block, having independent office. BAO should have no role in other activities of the block accept extension work, and freed from the control of the BDO, so that they focus full time for agricultural extension work. Regular capacity building exercises to be mandatory for BAOs, and linked with rewards and incentives. Accountability to be fixed in case of recurrent failures in executing various departmental programmes. BAO to report directly to the DAO, through SAO. Department to pay salaries directly to the BAO.

24 Reorganization -At District Level
At present there are too many staff at the district for too many jobs, which needs to be rationalized. The District Agriculture Office should be strengthened to make it the command and control center of agricultural extension activities in the district. DAO’s office should be accountable for its staff and their activities to the government through the District Magistrate and should not be involved in any work other than of his own department. Any communication or assignment related to agricultural development must be routed through the DAO and all the staff of the department in that particular district should report to DAO alone. A sufficiently senior officer of Senior Class I grade should only be posted as a DAO.

25 Reorganization -At District Level
DAO to be assisted by a number of Additional DAOs of Class I grade, to look after areas, like Extension Services, Horticultural development, Soil conservation, Input management, Plant protection, Quality control, Sugarcane etc. Departments of Sugarcane and Horticulture may be merged with the department of agriculture to bring synergy and to bring a holistic development of the agricultural sector. In the districts having horticulture or sugarcane as major enterprise, the officers of these departments may be posted as DAO. ATMA or ATMA like institutions may be established to bring convergence between other line departments, promoting farmer groups and developing linkages with private sector and other stake holder.

26 Reorganization -At State Level
The reorganization of the Department of Agriculture may be done keeping the following point in mind: The reorganized setup should be permanent, so that adequate expertise could be developed among the officers of the department. The chains of command clearly defined to not only get desired results but also to fix accountability for non performance. The focus to shift from Supply driven to Demand driven by promoting technologies/ enterprises which are market-led and Strengthen the Research-Extension-Farmer-Market linkage in the state. The state level BAMETI be located in the state capital with a full time director and adequate financial and faculty support to undertake capacity building job it right earnest.


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