October 14, 2012

2012: Highlight # 9

Can an annual agrarian festival help bridge the gap between agricultural scientists, administrators and farmers? Shah et. al. discuss findings from a survey of Gujarat's Krishi Mahotsav...

Reinventing Agricultural Extension?

Preliminary assessment of Gujarat's Krishi Mahotsav (Agrarian Festival)

Tushaar Shah, Itishree Pattnaik, Sonal Bhatt, G. Kopa and Amita Shah

Since the summer of 2005, the Government of Gujarat has been organizing every year a month long Krishi Mahotsav (Agrarian Festival) in a campaign mode. The campaign has modest financial costs but entails a massive mobilization effort involving over 1 lakh functionaries of government departments, farmer co-operatives, Panchayats, Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), private input suppliers, agricultural marketing companies and NGOs - all in an effort to expose the farmer to modern technologies, new crops and market opportunities.

While the conventional extension machinery based on Training and Visit (T&V) system has become defunct everywhere in India, Gujarat’s Krishi Mahotsav promises an innovative approach to reinventing agricultural extension, to reconnecting the scientist with the farmer, and in general, to extending the farmer’s production possibility frontier. Has Krishi Mahotsav served that purpose? Do farmers find it worthwhile? Is it able to reach out to one and all? IWMI-Tata Program, with the help of partners, surveyed 1445 farmers around Gujarat to analyse their perceptions about Krishi Mahotsav. This Highlight summarizes the results of the survey.

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