Agriculture and Science and Technolgy


    • Government launched KVK portals for monitoring of farm centres
Examine why Krishi Vigyan Kendras were set up and critically evaluate their performance. (200 Words)
Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) are the frontline agricultural extension center funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The KVKs focus on training and education of farmers, rural youth, on field demonstration of new and improved farming techniques etc.
It was felt that the Indian Farmers do not have knowledge about scientific farming methods, the soil-crop linkages, fertilizer requirements etc. Hence, KVKs were set up to ensure a last mile linkage, which would provide farmers with information and training about scientific farming, mitigation measures in case of adverse climatic events, consultancy services regarding the type of crops to be sown, the type and amount of fertilizer to be used etc.
However the KVKs have not had the impact that was envisioned.
    1. KVKs have different organizational structures. While some come directly under ICAR, others are monitored by State Agricultural Universities or even Civil Society  Organisations. This has led to problems of monitoring and coordination problems.
    2. While the KVKs have had some impact by proving training and some advisory services, their mandate was very expansive which they have not been able to fulfill due to lack of budgetary support.
    3. One KVK has been established in every district in the country. However, a district could be very large (Up to 38000 sq kms). Hence, one KVK has not been enough to cover the entire district. Thus, the impact on KVKs has been only in the immediate surrounding areas. Scientists have thus reduced field visits.
    4. The KVKs do not have integration with the weather monitoring and forecasting services. This impacts their ability to advise farmers about the mitigating steps in case of adverse climate.
    5. Lack of constant power is hindering research
    6. Centre usually releases fund by june end, then there wont be enough time left for field demonstrations as by that time, farmers would have made their sowing decision
    7. Low staff strength and infrastructure facilities
    8. Advisories from the kendras are vague and outdated. On the other side, the kendra staffers complain farmers stubbornly believe they know best e.g. discourage farmers from growing paddy during the kharif season as rains could be less, and encourage them to plant alternative crops like pulses and jowar. But in west UP, the farmers ignore the advice, as neelgai (the Asian antelope) does not allow pulses to survive. Farmers are unwilling to hurt the animal because it is considered sacred.
While KVKs have had some impact, there is potential to do a lot more. The government must look at reviewing the locations of KVKs, meet the manpower requirements and also consider setting up more than one KVK in a district. KVKs are essential in order to reach the goal of at least 4% growth in agriculture. They must be empowered to help proactively in achieving that target.
Examine how and why farm mechanization and crop diversification can help Indian farmers. (200 Words)
The mechanization and crop diversification of farm would help Indian farmers in following ways:-
Benefit of mechanization
    1. Reducing the input costs of sowing seeds and planting crops saplings in fields significantly
    2. Reducing the dependence of farmers on labour and reduce their exposure to the risk of fluctuating labor costs.
    3. Quick and timely plantation of crops in the fields and reaping them at the end of the crop season which would further help in timely selling of farm produces in the market or to FCI at proper price.
    4. Would also help in efficient addition or spray of fertilizers and pesticides in appropriate amounts so that each portion of the field receive the proper amount needed .
    5. Farming in developed countries is highly mechanized and that’s why farm outputs are high there. Implementation of these techniques in India would increase productivity significantly, reducing the burden of farmers apart from increased income.
Crop diversification:-
    1. Growing crops that need less water would help in tackling the problem of deficient rainfall.
    2. Use of crops that are resistance to the impact of rain would help in dealing with unseasonal rainfall.
    3. Use of pest resistance crops varieties would reduce loss of crops to pest infections and diseases.
    4. Improved varieties of seeds prepared through various techniques would increase farm productivity also.
    5. Help in retaining soil fertility
    6. This will help in reducing the usage of fertilizers, reducing input cost and import bill.
    7. If diversified crops are planted. There is a higher chance of proofing the agriculture produce against 100% crop damage due to adverse climatic conditions.
    8. Improving food and rural income security
    9. Crop diversification will improve nutritional security due to availability of different crops in the diet
    10. It will also help in tackling rural indebtness because of less chance of total failure of the crop.
    11. Apart from needing less water, pest resistance and increased yield, these crops seeds also take less time to grow till they become suitable for harvesting. This would allow farmers to grow crops a lot of times in one year.



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