The Bold Voice of J&K

Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) for rural prosperity

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Dr. Banarsi Lal 

Agriculture continues to be an occupation and way of life for more than half of the Indian population. The agriculture, which is an engine of growth and development and a significant contributor to the national economy, has been greatly influenced by the process of globalisation. There is a matter great concern about imbalance of total production, the urban-rural divide, national food security and economic access to food. The agricultural strategy in the country seeks to bridge the product and production gaps. The policy envisages promotion of sustainable agriculture through a regionally differentiated approach, improvement in the input use efficiency, development and transfer of technology. There is a need to focus on technology generation and its application in agro-ecological or social circumstances.
Agriculture is the major occupation of the people in Jammu and Kashmir where more than 75 per cent of the population is directly associated with agriculture. Thus, agricultural development harbingers the overall growth and development of the State. Jammu and Kashmir is a mountainous state in which about 30 per cent of the area is under cultivation. Agriculture is the mainstay of the people as it provides employment to about 75 per cent of the workforce. This sector contributes about 65 per cent of the state revenue which signifies the dependency of the state on agriculture. Judicious use of land is necessary to mitigate the growing needs of the increasing population by keeping the sustainability of soils, ecosystems and environment in view.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) also known as Farm Science Centers, a gross root levelscheme which was designed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the country. In 1964-66, the Education Commission of Government of India under the chairmanship of Dr. D. S. Kothari gave recommendations for the application of science to productive process including agricultural education. The Planning Commission of India and Inter-Ministerial Committee reviewed the recommendations. A committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta was constituted by the ICAR in 1973 which further gave the recommendations for the establishment of KVKs in the country. The first Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) was established in 1974 at Pudducherry under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore by the ICAR, New Delhi. Presently, the ICAR has established 641 KVKs all over the country under different organizations like State Agricultural Universities, the ICAR institutes, Deemed Universities, Central Institutes, State Governments and NGOs. In Jammu and Kashmir ICAR has established 19 KVKs under two agricultural universities SKUAST-Jammu, SKUAST-Kashmir and one KVK under Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH). These KVKs are mitigating the scientific agricultural needs of the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir. These KVKs are playing a pivotal role in transformation in rural areas of the state by updating the rural people about the latest agricultural technologies. These KVKs are immensely playing a major role in farmers’ prosperity. The KVKs have proved their worth to mitigate the agricultural needs of the farmers. The KVKs empower the farmers through need-based farmers/vocational trainings and helpful to change the socio-economic conditions of the farmers. Throughout the state the Krishi Vigyan Kendras conduct on- farm testing, identify the location specificity of agricultural technologies, lay out front line demonstrations to establish the production potential of various agricultural technologies at farmers fields, impart need-based and skill oriented training to the practicing farmers, in-service extensional personnel, to those who are interested for self-employment to update their knowledge and skills in new agricultural technologies, create awareness on improved technologies through various extension methods, produce and provide improved quality seeds, planting material, livestock, poultry, fisheries etc. to the farmers and work as agricultural knowledge centers for the public, private and voluntary organisations. These Kendras cater the needs of those who wish to be self-employed or those who are already employed. There is no particular syllabus for the Krishi Vigyan Kendras. The programmes and syllabus(action plan) of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras are tailored according to the needs, resources and potential for the agricultural growth in a particular area and is finally decided by involving the districts heads, Panchs/Sarpanchs and also progressive farmers of the
district.
(To be continued)

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