Perala Nikitha (nikithaagext@gmail.com)
Agricultural Extension, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, India
August, 2018


GDP Contribution of Agriculture is sliding down however, still more than 60% of the population depends on agriculture & allied sectors. There are over 135 million farm families, average size of farm holdings being 1.33 ha. Around 60% cropped area would continue to be rainfed, which demands innovative development strategies. Agricultural Extension is one of the crucial inputs to address these issues with focus on improving performance of existing extension system in operation hence enhanced research backstopping to extension and feedback based extension strategies are essential. Extension Strategies must focus on producer aggregates at various levels & provide strong forward linkages. Field extension functionaries from agriculture and line departments would need to be adequately oriented in promotion of crucial technologies like Soil health management, IPM, INM, Microbial applications, Climate Change, especially adaptation strategies, farm mechanization, secondary agriculture, IUE & WUE, projectized extension , etc. This approach would benefit the farmers in judicious input use and enhancing farm incomes. Future extension strategies must address areas having high yield potentials but performing at lower levels, follow sequential extension process equilibrium such as: Technology Validation (TV), working out technology Options (TOs), Technology Dissemination, Participatory Processes & obtaining feedback for further improvement. There is need to organize large number of Farm Field Schools/ Farmer Organization (may be one per Block) in potential areas. Extension functionaries must identify potential areas for export opportunities (for progressive farmers) and involve processing and export industries in such assessments. Promotion of forward linkages through appropriate extension interventions and enhancing outreach to small and marginal farmers would be essential. Hence, focus on social dynamics would be required in future strategies. It must draw strengths from international extension systems and private sector experiences (learning from companies, corporate sectors, multi-nationals, Non - Government Agencies, Entrepreneurs, Farmer Professionals and Para professionals & Outreach Programmes of Research Organizations). This would enable extension contents and delivery move on improved & dynamic mode as per need of the situation. Improving the accessibility and availability of information and communication technologies via social media using enhanced ICT tools and promoting farmer knowledge groups helps in better addressal of farmers problems and improved decision support system related to agriculture and allied sectors, Market led extension strategies by encouraging farm entrepreneurs. There is need to orient the services in favour of women farmers where customized training & capacity building modules need to be operated as per the needs of the farm women at a micro level. Farm Sector offers better price realization opportunities provided the production and the market linkages are streamlined. Specific strategies like processing and value addition, sustained supplies to processing units, crop diversification, empowered farmer groups, re-oriented extension services, producer organizations, growers associations etc would certainly enable the producers to enhance their farm incomes. Hence, information augmentation, socio economic considerations and dissemination strategies are important for effective extension performance.