Magnificance of Krishi Vigyan Kendras

“We have sought massive funds to strengthen KVK infrastructure in the country mainly to take up extensive study related to climate change and recruit additional manpower.”
~ Dr K.D. Kakote, Deputy Director-General of ICAR.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) sought Rs. 5,700 crore to strengthen Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) in the 12th Plan (2012-17). During the 11th Plan, the allocation for KVK was Rs 2,000 crore. This time in 2016-17, the Union Cabinet has approved Rs 3,900 crore for KVKs in its budget for the Twelveth Plan. Every KVK on an average is reported to receive about Rs 10-15 Million (200,000 USD) each year from ICAR, as Dr Mahesh Chander quotes in AESA Blog . The major component of such ICAR grant goes for staff salary, as revealed in its High Power Commitee (HPC) report (January,2014). More fund is likely to be invested in KVKs in view of projected work expectations in coming years and KVKs have also undertaken activities under NAIP (National Agricultural Innovation Project) and NICRA (National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture), besides diffusing ICAR’s inventions-and-innovations along with its interactive field feedbacks to transform Agriculture.
KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) is a Farm Science Centre, which came into existence in 1974 at Pudicherry (Pondicherry) under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, has become a vibrant institution of ICAR for technology assessment, refinement and dissemination in the country. KVK, is an integral part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), functions as Knowledge and Resource Centre of agricultural technology supporting initiatives of public, private and voluntary sector for improving the agricultural economy of the district and are linking the NARS with extension system and farmers.

At present, there are 668 Nos. of KVKs throughout India and the Government has a plan to have a KVK in each newly created district and and additional one in some larger districts. Presently, in whole of NE India, there are 78 Nos. of functional KVKs, 41 Nos. spread over the states of Arunachal Pradesh (13 Nos.), Assam (25 Nos.), and Sikkim (3 Nos.). In the NEH Region there are 42 districts spread over five states of Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura with total number of 37 sanctioned and functioning KVKs as on 1st April, 2017, under the ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), erstwhile Zonal Project Directorate, Zone-VII located at the ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Umium (Barapani) in Meghalaya state. The KVK scheme is 100% financed by the Govt of India and the KVKs are sanctioned to Agricultural Universities, ICAR institutes, related Government Departments and Non Government Organisations (NGOs) working in Agriculture.

The Chief mandate of KVKs is technology assessment, refinement and demonstration of technologies/products for application and capacity development. It provides a key facilitating role by acting as a two-way link between research and farmers.
KVK perform its activities as per the mandate suggested by the ICAR, New Delhi. Objectives of the KVKs can be summarised as follows:
 To organise on and off campus training programmes for practising farmers, rural women, youths, and field level extension functionaries in Agriculture and allied Departments to make them aware about the latest technologies in Agriculture and allied enterprises.
 To organize short and long term vocational training courses on vegetable, floriculture, beekeeping, dairying, mushroom, organic farming and protective cultivation etc.for rural youth for self-employment.
 To arrange front-line demonstrations and on-farm trials at farmer’s field on improved technologies and refinement of existing technology so as to suit the need of the farmer.
New definition of KVK activities as suggested by the HPC on Management of KVKs (ICAR, 2014) is as follows:
 On-Farm testing (OFT) to assess the location specificity of agricultural technologies under various farming systems.
 Out-scaling of farm innovations through Frontline Demonstration (FLD) to showcase the specific benefits /worth of technologies on farmers’ fields.
 Capacity development of farmers and extension personnel to update their knowledge and skills in modern agricultural technologies and enterprises.
 Work as Knowledge and Resource Centre for improving overall agricultural economy in the operational area.
 Conduct frontline extension programmes and provide farm advisories using ICTs and other media on varied subjects of interest to farmers.
 Data documentation, chararcterization and strategic planning of farming practices.

Contribution of KVKs :

The KVKs have made sufficient contributions to improving production, productivity and farmers’ income. The ICAR has also made tremendous efforts to recognize and reward the innovative and good work done by KVKs. Over the years, several KVKs have won the ICAR best KVK Award at Zonal Level as well as at the National Level. In the Northeast India, we have such winners among us and Dimapur KVK in Nagaland, and Kamrup and Nalbari KVKs in Assam have this glory. On the 15th March 2017 in Krishi Unnati Mela held at IARI, Pusa the KVK, Saharanpur received the Best KVK Award 2016 titled as Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Krishi Vigyan Protshahan Puraskar : Zonal Vigyan Protshahan 2016. Such KVKs should be given chance to be projected as role models and can be utilized to train the staff of underperforming KVKs. It is now the time to highlight properly those innovative KVKs with outstanding practices at proper forum/ media, besides KVK Conferences and KVK Zonal Workshops. Their success stories need to be focussed wider among the farming communities through print, electronic and social media.
Transfer of Technology (ToT) is normally the responsibility of line departments and ATMA. But the KVKs under supervision of ATARIs and SAUs as directed by ICAR trying to reduce the time lag between generation of technology at the research institution and its application to the specific farmer fields for increasing production, productivity and net farm income on a sustained basis. The KVK technology demos are called “frontline” as it happens for the first time in an area, whereas, line departments and ATMA conduct field demos on large scale. Now, there is need for coordination and convergence between KVKs and ATMA.
Dr Mahesh Chander, Head, Division of Extension Education, ICAR-IVRI, Izatnagar reiterates that KVK and ATMA are to work in true partnership mode, wherein, the KVK function as frontline extension system, while, ATMA- as a field extension agency work for large scale technology dissemination/adoption, out-scaling of successful technologies/ innovations through large scale demonstrations and further verification/validation etc. A joint circular was issued in January 2011 by the ICAR (Department of Agricultural Research and Education) and Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Govt of India) on required linkage between KVKs and ATMA, elaborating their joint responsibilities. As recommended by the HPC (ICAR, 2014), the PD, ATMA and his team should plan periodical joint visits to the cluster villages of KVKs for gaining first-hand knowledge on new technologies being demonstrated so that activities could be initiated under ATMA for large-scale disseminations. Apart from cluster villages, the problems or issues noticed by the PD, ATMA and his staff in other villages could be brought to the notice of KVK staff to ensure necessary follow up.
The guidelines provide mechanism for close involvement of agricultural research system represented by ICAR Institutes, SAUs, and KVKs and State Agriculture and allied Departments by pooling funds, resources, programmes and manpower to enable the farmers to draw full benefits of technological advancements as per local needs. The Ministry of Agriculture issued guidelines for ATMA in 2014 and this also emphasized the need for better coordination and convergence between ATMA and KVKs.
To counter the revelation of the latest Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households in India (NASSO, 70th round) based on countrywide survey (July 2012-June 2013) of nearly 35,000 households that “ farmers continue to remain far removed from new technologies and guidance from state run research institutes including KVKs”, it is our duty to make KVKs more vibrant. For this, KVKs must address (a) entrepreneurship development, (b) promotion of diversified farming systems including Agro-tourism, (c) resource generation, (d) capacity gaps, (e) clarity on governance, (f) ATMA-KVK link, and (g) role of Zonal Project Directors.
It is promising that a KVK Portal has been developed for the convenience of digital accessibility by farmers and extension personnels; and monitoring of KVKs will be easier by the ICAR authorities. The link is for your visit.


~~Mr Manik CS Bordoloi, Editor in Chief; Krishak Bandhu eMagazine

(1) Dr Mahesh Chander, Head, Division of Extension Education, ICAR-IVRI, Izatnagar, UP.;
(2) Dr Yogesh Suri, Adviser, NITI Aayog and Director General, National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development,New Delhi;
(3) ICAR data from Internet for ATARIs and AAU informations regarding KVKs.

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