Powerful Tool to Transform Agriculture : Krishi Vigyan Kendras
Krishi Vigyan Kendra ( K.V.K. ) is a noble concept developed by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which was rest upon a solid base of transfer of technology from laboratory to farmer’s field with respect to Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry, Floriculture. Bee keeping, Mushroom Cultivation, Broiler Farming and allied subjects. During 1974, K.V.K.s was established in different states. Gradually working guidelines are prepared to make the K.V.K. as the light house for the rural people.
As per the mandate of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, K.V.K. will operate under the administrative control of State Agricultural University (SAU) or Central Institute situated in a particular area. Different scientists from different disciplines as per the specific requirement of that particular area are posted in the Krishi Vigyan Kendra as Training Associate. Generally there are six categories of scientists posted in the K.V.K. i.e.
- Training Associate (Crop Production) to look after the experiment on field crops as well as provide training and advice on different field crops.
- Training Association (Horticulture) looks after the training and demonstration on horticultural crops such as vegetables, fruits and flowers.
- Training Associate (Plant Protection) Provides training and demonstration on control of different pests and diseases in different crops. He also imparts training and advice on different types of pesticides and insecticides, their methods and time of application.
- Training Association (Animal Science) looks after overall growth and management of animal resource of that particular area. He also imparts training and advices on broiler farming, dog rearing as well as rabbit rearing etc.
- Training Associate (Agricultural Engineering) looks after the use of different agricultural implements in the field for different agricultural operations through training, demonstrations and on farm testing.
- Training Associate (Home Science) involved in the improvement of skill and attitude of the farmers and farm women as well as provides advices and training on kitchen gardening preparation of nutritional food and different handicrafts. She also imparts training regarding the preservation and storage of fruits and vegetables for rural youths of the adopted village.
An agricultural invention-and-innovation continuum in all facets of agriculture and allied activities with its effective diffusion is keys to sustainably increase the agricultural production and productivity with environment sustainability. With half of the workforce engaged in agricultural sector in India, the role of science and technology in agriculture is pertinent to not only ensure food security of the country, but also to provide farmers a competitive edge and to maintain affordability of the food items for the public at large. To realize their true potential, farmers must have access to the state-of-the-art technologies, necessary inputs and related information. In this context, the Government of India through Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has established a large network of over 661 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) across the country with an aim to conduct technology assessment and refinement, knowledge dissemination and provide critical input support for the farmers with a multidisciplinary approach. To find out the impact of KVKs on dissemination of improved practices and technologies, in terms of outreach, knowledge, accessibility etc. a study was recently awarded by the ICAR to the National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development (NILERD), an autonomous institute under NITI Aayog. The study intended to examine the efficacy of KVKs’ services, assess them in terms of infrastructure and human resources, impact of new knowledge and practices on farmers’ farming practices and the effect of new knowledge adoption by farmers on their incomes and quality of life. It was based on field surveys of 46 KVKs, covering about 1800 farmers in five States viz. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh following stratified random sampling technique. To substantiate, focused group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with various stakeholders and best practices were culled out. The study found that KVKs are playing a proactive role in transferring new technology at field level with beneficial impacts. They have an edge in technology transfer over other service providers by virtue of their having better technical expertise and demonstration units. About 40 percent farmers reported that they implemented the technology immediately after its dissemination by KVK and that 25 percent did so from the next agricultural season. With the intervention by KVKs, about 80 percent of the farmers have modified their agricultural patterns which were related to diversification of crops and changes in cropping pattern, seed planting technique, use of fertilizers and pesticides, changes in machinery used and in water use pattern. More than 50 percent of the farmers have mechanized their farm operations; however, ownership of farm machinery and technology adoption increased with the size of holdings and education level of the farmers.
There are increasing efforts from the part of the Government to strengthen the existing 642 KVKs and setting up 109 new ones during the Twelfth Plan period, to carry out its wide range of mandated activities and initiation of new components, for which the Cabinet has approved Rs.3900 crore. The Union Budget 2016-17 has proposed to hold a national level competition amongst KVKs with prize money of Rs.50 lakh to foster positive competition amongst them. It is expected that in due course of time KVKs would play an increasingly important role in transforming agriculture, a key ingredient to transform India.