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Non Standard Leadership Techniques

Extension Education Reformation – Iii- Farmers Perception and Farmers Schools

G.M. Wani asked:

Summary

A mixed technology pack consisting of awareness on generation of total farm income is needed. Our farming is a composite farming comprising crop, fruit, livestock, fish and allied production systems. We need a composite technology pack and not a commodity research end product. Thus a total change and reformation in National Agricultural Research System (NARS) is needed to shape it as farmer friendly. We may name it NFR&ES, i. e National Farm Research & Extension System or simply Indian Farm Research and Business Management System.

Introduction

Future of agricultural extension education lies in its advancement through research, methodological refineness and village–linked mechanization. The disciplines of extension education has to be reshaped, incorporating explorative methods, survey techniques, computing skills, economic and social back ground analysis. An attempt to characterize barriers in transmission of technologies to the baseline farming systems needs a reformation in extension education in India and Asia. A detailed reformation model in the form of Broad Based Agricultural extension has been published (Wani, 1992). The booklet describes a model approach for Kashmir Valley districts. With the establishment of SAMETI in SKUAST-K, as an autonomous Institution, a series of documents for improving productivity in whole agriculture i,e crops, fruits and livestock have been prepared. (Wani, 2008,a& b). On the basis of these reviews and documents, the present document is 4th of the series, reviewing technology dissemination, impact & productivity changes. It concludes with a reformation model for Extension Education – a Vision.

Farmers Perception

A study was conducted to examine the perception of cotton farmers(n= 210) of Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India, regarding the attributes of integrated pest management (IPM) technologies. Majority of the cotton farmers of the area perceived that the initial cost of IPM technologies is high, and IPM technologies give meager and irregular net profit, but may be beneficial in the long run. Moreover, farmers stated that IPM technologies are not feasible given the situation of the district, culturally not acceptable, not necessary, not socially recognized, have more cognitive complexity and scarce resource complexity, reversible, and consume more labour. Regarding the practicality of IPM technologies, the respondents felt that the technologies can be easily demonstrated and tried out, and have reliable point of origin. It is suggested that the success of IPM technologies depends on farmers awareness, community approach, timeliness and availability of inputs. (Nasantha & Buchareddy,, 2006).

Eco-friendly Technology

This study was conducted to analyse the constraints encountered by farmers (n=245) in employing eco-friendly technologies in cultivating rice in Andhra Pradesh, India. Ineffectiveness of the recommended dosage of spray solutions (51.42%), and difficulty in maintaining recommended depth of water after transplanting (23.26%), were the major problems perceived by the farmers. Based on the results, 55.51% farmers suggested that adequate trainings must be conducted on improved management practices to enhance farmers’s skills, and 32.24% farmers said that more demonstrations must be conducted on farmers’s fields, for effective adoption of eco-friendly technologies in rice cultivation (Reddy et al, 2006).

The study was conducted to analyse eco-friendly technologies for rice cultivation, which exploit renewable resources to control pollution upto consideredable level and to recycle wastes. The data were gathered from 245 farmers in three regions of Andhra Pradesh, India . it is suggested that extension agencies should concentrate on major suggestions i.e., conducting required number of training programmes for enhancing the skills of rice farmers in various management practices. Conducting more number of demonstration on the efficacy of eco-friendly technologies in the field, rather than mere publicity. Extension should be strengthened so that it is demand driven, market driven and farmer led. Visits of experts should be increased to farmers’ field region wise and block wise for better comprehension and diagnosis of field problems. (Reddy et al 2005).

This study was conducted to analyse the attitudes of rice farmers (n=245) in Andhra Pradesh, India, towards eco-friendly technologies. Results showed favourable attitude of farmers towards eco-friendly technologies. The results indicate the need for the extension agency to train and educate the farmers regarding the advantage of adopting eco-friendly technologies to decrease environmental pollution, obtain high quality produce and sustainable yields,(Reddy et al, 2006).

Technology gaps

The study was conducted in Junagadh-1 and Junagadh-2 subdivisions of Rajkot division, where National Watershed development programme has already been implemented, to find out the extent of technological gaps in adoption of soil and water conservation technologies and factors responsible for it. The results revealed that the technological gap was higher in adopting the percolation tank-cum-farm ponds, strip cropping and mulching practices in beneficiary farmers (BFs). But in non-beneficiary farmers (NBFs) , the technological gap was higher in the practices of contour cultivation, contour bunding along with vegetative barriers, afforestation, recharging well and tubewell, deep ploughing and graded bunding in addition to above three practices mentioned for BFs. The study clearly indicated that overall technological gap in NBFs was significantly higher with a mean difference of 24.57% compared to BFs. It was also observed that variables namely, size of land holding , social participation, employment status, opinion leadership, extension participation, localite-cosmopolite value orientation knowledge and attitude were significantly correlated with the technological gap (Popat et al 2006).

Farmer Decision Process

This study was conducted to analyse the direct and indirect relative influence of the selected independent variables with each other to analyse the relative influence of other dependent variable, i.e., differential innovation decision process of rice eco-friendly technologies. The data were gathered from 245 farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India , and analysed using path coefficient. The path diagram clearly shows that the variables social participation, farm size, and extension participation were crucial variables. This might be due to the fact that many variables were channeling their substantial indirect effects on differential innovation decision process of rice eco-friendly technologies through them. The variables exposure to electronic media and cosmopoliteness showed significant positive direct effects. Moreover, maximum direct negative effects were shown by fatalism and religious beliefs (Reddy et al, 2006).

Farmer cost-sharing – Nigerian Model

Providing adequate and stable funding for agricultural extension service in Nigeria has been a major problem since the expiration of the World Bank’s funding arrangement. In order to solve this problem, cost –sharing of agricultural technology delivery is seen as a tenable privatization policy option. Considering the fact that agricultural technology transfer in Nigeria has mainly been publicly funded, introducing cost-sharing arrangement is expected to meet some obstacles. Hence, this study ascertains the perception of farmers and extension agents on the constraints and strategies towards effective cost –sharing of agricultural technology delivery in Nigeria. This study was carried out in six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Multistage random sampling technique was applied in the selection of respondents. A sample size of 267 farmers and 272 Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)staff participated in the study. Means,
standard deviation, exploratory factor analysis and test statistics were used i
n realizing the objectives. The results show that the major constraints to effective cost-sharing of agricultural extension service in Nigeria are weak institutional development, extension system lapses, lack of cooperation by farmers, uncertainties experienced in agriculture, conflicts and corruption. The major strategies for effective cost-sharing arrangement include building political support for cost sharing , establishment of farmers’ cooperatives to serve as avenues for collection of payments, creating enabling legislation for cost –sharing and increasing the number of extension staff. The study recommends proper dissemination of information on cost-sharing before implementation, creating enabling legislation, decentralizing the extension system and building the capabilities of extension staff (kukwuone et al, 2006). Should we use this model of Nigeria.

Farmers Knowledge Level

The study was conducted to determine farmers’ knowledge level regarding the major aspects of pearl millet production technology in dryland farming. The data were gathered by administering a questionnaire to 120 farmers in Sirsa District, Haryana, India. Results showed that 54.17% of farmers possessed medium knowledge level whreas 26.67 and 19.16% of them have high and low knowledge level, respectively. Regarding aspect-wise knowledge level of production technology, 75% of farmers possessed high knowledge in preparatory tillage, 78% had low knoeledge level about improved variety, 90% of farmers had low level of knowledge on seed treatment and 68% possessed medium knowledge level about sowing rate. For sowing date and FYM application, 82% and 70% of farmers had high and medium knowledge level, respectively. Farmers possess low level of knowledge about chemical fertilizers application 48%. In mechanical weed control, 85% had high knowledge level and 82% had low knowledge about chemical weed control. On plant protection measures, 50.83 and 70% farmers had low knowledge level about insect control and disease control, respectively (Chander et al, 2006).

Farmers Field Schools

The Farmer Field School (FFS) approach is gaining prominence as an extension approach but its usefulness in influencing farmers to understand and uptake new technologies is still a question lingering in the mind of many FFS practitioners. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the approach in knowledge acquisition, adoption and dissemination of soil and crop management (S&CM) technologies among small-scale farmers in Kenya. Eight technologies were scaled –out using the approach and the conventional extension methods. A survey with an ex-post facto design was employed with a sample frame consisting of 940 farmers. A sample of 60 FFS graduates and 60 non-FFS (NFFS) farmers was chosen for the study. There was a significant difference in knowledge acquired in S&CM technologies by FFS compared to NFFS farmers. About 50% of FFS farmers had acquired high to very high level of the knowledge of all the eight technologies disseminated while the majority ( 80%) of the NFFS farmers had acquired less than 50% of the same knowledge. About 45% of the FFS farmers had adopted 50% of the technology components while only 17% of NFFS farmers had adopted the same percentage of the technology components. The FFS participants were significantly (P .05) better disseminators of S&CM technologies than the non-FFS farmers. It was recommended that all stakeholders in Agricultural development in Kenya be sensitized on the potential effectiveness of FFS methodology in scaling-up agricultural technologies and also monitor how the application of knowledge acquired by FFS farmer is impacting on their livelihoods. (Bunyatta et al, 2006).

Conclusion and work plan 2008

Community supported agriculture system needs to be evolved. It should encompass food production, marketing, distribution, quality assurances and pricing decisions. A transparent system of research, outreach (extension) industry profiting based on Farmers production prices need to be evolved. Research and extension needs to be clubbed to give end products to farmers and not the research publication which are never transferable to farmers. Communication process within extension system need to be informative, analytic and fact gathering exercises. The total change in Extension delivery system should begin with curriculum changes to suit new name of “Farm Business Management. It needs incorporation of Agricultural sciences awareness with particular emphasis on Agribusiness, appraisals, consultancy, risk management, data analysis, credit management, marketing, public relations, economics and policy issues, farm management and international agriculture – public private partnerships, Farm co-operative ventures, rural banking, Agro-industrial managements, feed/seed services and programmes need to be added to the projects and mission on agricultural technology delivery system.

Farmer schools, women awareness and technology impact analytic projects need to be financed by ICAR. A broad national based project as Agriculture and National resource utilization needs to be financed including all SAU Extension Education Directorates. This should cover areas of farm production, production cost, price structure, service cost, input – output ratio with respect to livestock, fish, agriculture, forestry, sericulture and horticulture products. Quality trainings in food processing and preservation to stimulate new graduate to set up food processing units. A composit packaging of technology, their use and cost benefit ratio analysis should be the areas of operation of the project. Once the basic idea of reforms is conceived by ICAR logistics could be worked out.

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