Friday 4 November 2011

Agriculture Extension: Strategic Approach

The present state of dissemination of news and scientific approach to the farming communities lacks concerted efforts. 
The information so destined and reaches to the target groups is blurred and lacks clarity. When information is not reached properly to the target groups, reaction and interaction in the target group is less expected.
In agriculture so as to say that adoption of any new scientific approach of agriculture farming requires good extension mechanism for good feedback. 
In India, for that matters in every country even with the presently available good techniques can do wonder in the field of agriculture but whatever had been devised or developed have not been properly implemented or executed to the grass root level.
Agriculture extension mechanism involves chains of networks of agricultural functionaries who actually disseminate the information to the target groups and act as a catalyst too. 
The system in the nutshell follows; research centre develop or devise new techniques or module followed by extensive field trial followed by decision for popularization through extension networks.
In the process of popularization of new methods to the farming communities, extension workers are first trained for the new techniques which they later on disseminates to the farming communities through a specific scheme clubbed with existing schemes. In India, department of agriculture perform this job.
Now, the effectiveness of extension mechanism is concerned, it is not up to the mark. Reason of weak and in-effective extension mechanism may be many but there are certain, points that have to be looked into for creating effective extension mechanism networks.
The functionaries should be dedicated and accustomed to work in the rural environment where the target groups live and lead life. The present set of establishment that had already been existed should be utilized properly for bringing any sea change. 
The professional that is agricultural professional should keep in mind that theirs is the job of extreme situation and should not expect to lead a air-conditioned environment the  professional should love their job so is their target groups.
Unless and until you love your job objective of your knowledge so acquired will be of no use in puritan opinion.
Another aspects that I would to like share is the very teaching methods that agriculture students learns in their undergraduate and post graduate courses. 
All through the course period students are taught several aspects of general agriculture covering every disciplines of agriculture. It could be said that the present system is more of a classroom teaching rather than well designed field experience study.
Of course, theoretical is must before eye witnessing the real field environment but co-relating the theoretical knowledge with field level actualization should play more important role in real learning experience.
 In the process a void like situation which acts as barrier between the real field level job and their in room experience would diminish or decrease and professional will be more accustomed to the field level job.
What I want to say is; dedication and devotion to the job and if these elements are not overcome then whatever the development in the research lab will mot actually reflects and materialize  in the field level.
 Therefore, strategic extension mechanism should be devised   otherwise any research efforts and innovative ideas will not help in adoption of new techniques or technical know how. 

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Agriculture Produce and Pesticides Residue

It sounds strange that agriculture produce could be risky! This statement may be conjoined with related topic of agriculture viz: agriculture crops could be in risky position due to a biotic factors and biotic factors like insect pests and different pathogen and harsh climate. There is another related aspect that is the point of discussion here.
It is well known that present state of agriculture is outcome of several decades of advancement of agricultural science and technology. 
 Agriculture which was in subsistence type of farming has evolved to the present form of farming due to the influence of technological advancement in the field of agriculture. During the course of evolution, it has received every share of pros and cons.
 When soil fertility declines reason is depletion of soil nutrients, failure of crops, it is due to insect pest damage.  
 Now, the solution had been discovered and soil nutrients had to be replenished with the application of manure and chemical fertilizers. Controlling of insect pests and pathogens by chemical pesticides and naturally occurring bio-pesticides.
Now, the bad effects that has come with the good effects are; un-controlled application of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides to control the pests and diseases for obtaining good yield of agricultural crops.
The resultants affects are; soil health deteriorated, surrounding ecosystem gets affected due to over dose application of chemical pesticides. 
 The fauna which used to act as natural control measure for certain crops become extinct and chemical pesticides resistant pests come into existence and this has further accelerated the usages of chemical pesticides.
This overdose application of chemical pesticides and insecticides had completely devastated the fauna viz small fishes, snails, crabs and beneficial insects that used to be found in the agricultural field and water logged paddy field. 
 Now those fish species, snails and different species of crabs had completely disappeared from the aquatic environment of water logged paddy field. Beneficial insects which act as natural control to the crops pests had also disappeared. 
 These are the affects that has caused on the flora and fauna of agricultural ecosystem. Another aspect is; agricultural produce that is how the produce also influenced due to such maneuver.
Agricultural produce particularly the fresh produce like fruits and vegetables found in the markets are looked as suspicious due to over dosage application of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. But, there is no option but to rely on the same produce.
Well, there are rumor of pesticide abuse but nobody is ready to speak out at straight for they do not have concrete evidence that the fresh produce especially the fruits and vegetables had come to the market after completing the safety period of application of chemical insecticides and pesticides.
 No mechanism of controlling chemical pesticides abuse had been taken seriously. Ultimately the consumer had to buy and consume the products from the market, if the produces are good then fine but if it was otherwise also no option.
Some people presume that there would not be any chances to make any un-scrupulous use of chemicals as producer in turn consume the same products. The matter of the fact is how aware is our producers or farmers. 
 Do they have the knowledge of pesticides safety period? If answer is; then next question is; do they maintain the safety period? I personally do not know.
However, this should not continue and these presumption and assumption should not be the barrier to act strictly for ensuring pesticide safety observation and regulation. 
 This is for the fact that nobody knows how this pesticides residue interacts/reacts in our body system but the proven fact is chemical pesticides had completely destroyed different species of flora and fauna in the agricultural ecosystem.
Therefore, state department should formulate specific guidelines to stop insecticides and pesticides abuse and regulate that no Agricultural produce should be marketed that are produced out of insecticides and pesticides abuse.
This move will create awareness to both producers and consumers of agriculture produce. Let us don’t delay further otherwise; it would be risky affairs for the mankind.

Monday 31 October 2011

Agriculture Sector: Resource Utilization is Main

India, the land of diversity is bestowed with highest average arable land of 52% whereas world average is 11%. It is for the fact that India employs more than 50% population in agriculture sector
In the world, India is the highest employer in the agriculture sector whereas in USA and UK and many other countries, percentage of population directly involved in agriculture sector is less than 4%.
But, there is contrasting indication as far as human development index is concerned, one report clarifies that eight out of ten impoverished families of the country live in rural area, three out of 4(four) Indian rural dwellers is dependent on Agriculture sector.
 Such is the phenomenon of the agricultural scenario in the country where maximum relies on. Though agriculture is our primary sector and supports our one of the basic fundamental requirement but agriculture sector remained unorganized and un-rewarding.
    As illustrated in the foregoing Para, since, India is in better resource position as far as cultivable land is concerned, good opportunity lies with the people of India for better endeavor by effective resource utilization. 
   The point is, agriculture sector should transform from traditional subsistence form of farming to more vibrant economical form. The natural resources should be utilized properly and scientifically so that transformation in the sector is achieved. 
    This transformation may be achieved through latest agricultural technology and appropriate intervention in transferring the right techniques or technology at right time to the target groups that is our farming communities.
What I feel is, we are yet to realize or have no idea of potentiality of Indian agriculture sector and this potentiality can only be achieved through concerted efforts, technology transfer and scientific resource utilization. 
  In developed countries, although direct involvement in the agriculture sector is very less compare to India but still potentiality in terms of resource mobilization, utilization and production optimization is more.
In India, of course after many relentless research activities in the field of agriculture has brought out many paradigm shifts by producing and leading in horticultural crops, food grain etc in the world but there is a scope to realize more in terms of resource we possess. 
 And, still there are loopholes which work against overall development of agriculture sector and that has to be dealt more carefully.
The last Census report indicates that more than 70% of the population still relies on Agriculture sector for their livelihood. While in Census-2001 also reported the same reliance on agriculture sector but latest report is even more astounding as far as involvement of people in the agriculture sector is concerned.
Now, with the population exceeding more than billion, it seems the country has taken a re-shape of olden days as dependence on farming is increasing and it is more than 70% of the total population of the country that still relies on Agriculture sector
 But, what is the growth in agriculture sector? It is of course not encouraging trend as far as growth trajectory in the sector in concerned. The picture represents a definitive mismatch in terms of development or otherwise human development Index.
For a country to prosper, it should provide basic avenues to her people for their socio-economic prosperity. 
India, as illustrated, has unique eco-geological system which can sustain different activities, only the requirement being the appropriate assessment and utilization of resources at right time and right place.
Another aspect that I want to stress upon is; what would mean this resource utilization to us? Like every country in the world, one of the burning issue of the country is unemployment and this is  creating a lot of  problems for all of us.
Since, maximum population of the country is dependent on the agriculture sector, efforts should be made to achieve this sector in impressive growth trajectory and by doing so, I am optimistic that the burning issue of unemployment and also the poverty could be solved to a great extent.