What is Agricultural Extension Service?

An agricultural extension service provides technical aid to farmers on any agricultural issues. It works to supply them with the essential inputs and services that support and increase their agricultural production. New ideas and techniques developed by the agricultural scientific research centres are dispersed among the farmers by the agricultural extension activities.

Discussed further below are the types of Agricultural extension services and an overview of its significance. All IAS exam aspirants must review the information discussed further below, important from the UPSC Mains GS 3 paper.

Agricultural Extension Service Types

There are three main categories of agricultural extension services in India. These are:

  1. Technology transfer services: Responsible for passing out advice, knowledge, and information to farmers.
  2. Advisory Services: Responsible for assisting farmers in case of particular issues they face.
  3. Facilitation Services: Responsible for supporting farmers to analyse their problems and develop their solutions accordingly.

Agriculture Extension Services in India: In India, Agricultural Extension Services are provided by the following bodies:

  • Public sector undertakings such as Ministries of Agriculture or Rural Development,
  • Private sector bodies such as agro-based dealers, crop science industry, seed and input companies, technology- providers, and buyers of agricultural products.
  • Non-profit or non-government organisations, commodity boards, or farmer-based organisations.

Public Extension Services: The Public Extension System handles the Extension Services and Public extension system in India. These bodies are mainly- KVKs, State Agriculture departments, ICAR Organisations, Agriculture Universities, ATMAs, and several other Central and State Government organisations.

Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA): It is a multi-agency platform that stresses procedural and institutional reforms. It is a registered body that looks after technology dissemination at the district level. It links all the line departments, research organisations, non-governmental organisations, and agricultural development agencies in the district. ATMA’s constituent members are- Research and Extension units, Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Fisheries, etc.

ATMA-KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs): linkage needs to be strengthened by creating functional inter-dependence as KVKs have an important role in the frontline extension system.

National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology (NMAET): It aims to ensure that farmers can easily avail themselves of seeds, pesticides, and machinery at affordable prices.

Functions of NMAET are:

  • Promoting sustainable farm agriculture and capacity building among farmers, extension bodies, and other stakeholders through knowledge centres.
  • Associating with knowledge generators for collecting and disseminating information to the beneficiaries through all channels.
  • Development of disadvantaged groups of farmers who farm in difficult regions because, in these regions, the production is very low, which results in low macro yield.
  • Connecting the mission to the grassroots level through effective mediums like farmers portal, Kisan call centres, etc.
  • Providing on and off agricultural employment opportunities to youth via several interventions and programmes.

National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management: It is an autonomous body under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers’ Welfare. Its function is to assist state and central governments to strengthen agricultural extension management services.

Extension Education Institutes (EEIs): This is in the higher order of the system that works on innovative and distinct agricultural or farming, poultry/livestock, etc., experiments. It ensures the capacity building of the respective areas.

State Agriculture Management and Extension Training Institute (SAMETI): These are an extended wing of MANAGE. They are part of the state-level institutional mechanism of the ATMA component of Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension (SAME).

These institutes are responsible for capacity-building assistance, providing consultancy services related to project planning, appraisal, implementation, monitoring & evaluation, etc., and organising necessity-based training programmes.

Private Extension Services: Private Extension Services cover seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, machinery, credit, insurance, contract farming, export, advisory, etc. Moreover, several private companies like progressive farmers, farmers’ organisations (CIGs, FPOs), and cooperatives are direct stakeholders under this system. In addition, Agri-entrepreneurs, input dealers, NGOs, private banks, private media, donor agencies, consultancy firms, etc., are other private players.

Agricultural Extension Services empowers the nation’s farmers by providing them access to information, knowledge, technology, skills, risk & farm management practices across agricultural sub-sectors. Also, it helps them to understand the importance of the agricultural value chain so that the farmers can increase their net income sustainably.

Candidates preparing for the upcoming Civil Services Exam can get the detailed UPSC Syllabus and exam pattern at the linked article.

Frequently Asked Questions on Agricultural Extension Services

Name a few private companies working as an agricultural extension service in India.

Mahindra and Mahindra, ITC, DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd., Indian Oil Corporation, and TATA are a few private companies that provide extension services in India.

What is TKS?

TKS stands for Tata Kisan Sansar, which is an initiative by Tata Chemicals Limited started for providing technology, information, and crop advisory services to the farmer and agricultural inputs.

Which institute is responsible for agricultural research in India?

The Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) promotes agricultural research and education in India under the Ministry of Agriculture.

Presently, how many KVKs are there in the country?

There are about 716 Krishi Vigyan Kendras or KVK in India.

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