Thursday, June 18, 2015

Krishi Vigyan Kendras

Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) are the frontline agricultural extension center funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The KVKs focus on training and education of farmers, rural youth, on field demonstration of new and improved farming techniques etc.
It was felt that the Indian Farmers do not have knowledge about scientific farming methods, the soil-crop linkages, fertilizer requirements etc. Hence, KVKs were set up to ensure a last mile linkage, which would provide farmers with information and training about scientific farming, mitigation measures in case of adverse climatic events, consultancy services regarding the type of crops to be sown, the type and amount of fertilizer to be used etc.
However the KVKs have not had the impact that was envisioned.
1. KVKs have different organisational structures. While some come directly under ICAR, others are monitored by State Agricultural Universities or even Civil Society Organisations. This has led to problems of monitoring and co-ordination problems.
2. While the KVKs have had some impact by proving training and some advisory services, their mandate was very expansive which they have not been able to fulfill due to lack of budgetary support.
3. One KVK has been established in every district in the country. However, a district could be very large (Upto 38000 sq kms). Hence, one KVK has not been enough to cover the entire district. Thus, the impact on KVKs has been only in the immediate surrounding areas.
4. The KVKs do not have integration with the weather monitoring and forecasting services. This impacts their ability to advise farmers about the mitigating steps in case of adverse climate.
While KVKs have had some impact, there is potential to do a lot more. The government must look at reviewing the locations of KVKs, meet the manpower requirements and also consider setting up more than one KVK in a district. KVKs are essential in order to reach the goal of at least 4% growth in agriculture. They must be empowered to help proactively in achieving that target.

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