Transforming subsistence agriculture into profitable agriculture is a great challenge before the extension functionaries in India. It is a well known fact that farmers’ need for the latest knowledge has risen as the focus shifted from subsistence to profitable agriculture, where as, the knowledge of the public extension functionaries has not enhanced adequately due to their engagement in multifarious activities and lack of opportunities for knowledge and skill up gradation. As a result, the knowledge gap between the challenges ahead and existing capabilities among extension functionaries has been widened.
In recent times there has been considerable increase in agricultural extension services provided by private sector in the country. However, its services have been limited to selected regions, crops and enterprises with profitability as a motive. The small and marginal farmers in the less endowed regions with rainfed crops and enterprises are left unattended by these private players, as it does not make a profitable business. It is in this context, the public extension has to continue to cover the wet and dry geographies, all the crops and enterprises promoting sustainable agriculture technologies. Given the scenario, the public extension system continues to play a pivotal role for agricultural growth. The extension personnel in the country working at district and block levels in the field of agriculture and allied sectors estimated to be 90,000 in numbers may be transformed into a vibrant and useful knowledge force to bring about the desired changes in the agriculture sector. It further reinforces that any attempt to strengthen and enhance the capability of existing public extension functionaries is a welcome step for agriculture development.....Read More