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Rural Marketing Information System

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									             ROLE OF EXTENSION IN AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
                                     -A MODEL
                                            Vinod Gupta1 and Kunwar, M.S2

Our agriculture growth is sluggish. It causes a great concern for us. New economic concepts- globalisation
and free trade, add new dimensions to our concern. How should we respond to the emerging environment; in
particular, how should we refine our extension system?

       There is an urgent need to accelerate agricultural growth to address issues on food security, nutrition
adequacy, rural income generation, employment and poverty. Despite higher production, the per capita
availability of food over time has not increased significantly. About 65 to 70 per cent of our people depend
on agriculture for their livelihood. Contribution of agriculture to GDP is declining; this affects the rural poor
most.

        Future growth in agriculture would have to necessarily come largely from increased productivity
from a shrinking natural resource base through efficient management. Simultaneously conservation of
natural resources must receive sustained attention. Our vision for growth should not be clouded by short-
term gains; it should strongly focus on long-term sustainability.

New Challenges

        The challenges now Indian agriculture facing are more daunting in that research and extension
system, as they are practised today, are not geared to meet the challenges. New challenges are due to the
decline in factor productivity, loss of bio- diversity, climate change, environmental degradation, etc and
problems of getting good markets for farm produce are posing serious threats and adding to the persistence
of our poverty and future food security.

        The research and extension systems will have to be revitalised and integrated for the resolution of
increasing and sustaining the productivity of the natural resource base. This would demand relook at the
farming practices that are both science and information technology (both modern and traditional) based.

Role of Extension

        Extension has a big role to play in the development of agriculture and inturn rural development as a
whole. Extension efforts must be directed at skill development of the rural people through education and
training. It would be desirable to move from fragmented ‘message based ‘ extension process to a ‘broad-
based farm management’ approach. Extension must focus on conservation and better use of the natural
resources of the basin and maximizing farm profit by assessing market potentials. Extension has to look
after to a holistic and integrated approach of agricultural and rural development right from production end to
users end; it means we have not only to increase the farmers production level but also provide them with
good market to get a better price of their produce.

        It is our experiences that the extension system has never been vested with responsibilities of linking
the farm, agro industry and consumer market in the past. It is also true that the extension system in the past
never had the opportunity of linking the above three sectors for optimum utilization of agricultural (plant
and animal) resources for socio-economic development in rural areas. These linkages also help agricultural
development by the creation of backward (credit, inputs, extension, support services, procurement services
etc) linkages and forward (marketing of produce and finished produce) linkages, adds value to the farmer’s
produce and increase their net income which inturn motivates them for better productivity and results,
develop leadership qualities in the rural society and brings about a change in culture, attitude, orientations,
etc. In other words strengthening linkages between farm, industry and market would definitely improve the
quality of extension work as well as quality of life in rural areas.
                                       Himalayan Action Research Centre - 1
 1- Program Coordinator (Planning and Monitoring) and 2- Secretary, Himalayan Action Research Centre
The critical areas of intervention for extension

           1. Sustainable development.
           2. Environmental degradation.
           3. Improving availability of seed/planting material.
           4. Promoting use of organic farming.
           5. Expansion of areas under different crops and commodities through diversification of
              agriculture.
           6. Improving productivity of crops, existing plantations and livestock.
           7. Infrastructure for post-harvest management.
           8. Developing marketing (backward and forward market linkages) and agribusiness.
           9. Transfer of technology through assessment and refinement continuously.
           10. Development of a strong data base for the benefit of farmers, and
           11. Enhancement of export potential in selected areas where India has a comparative advantage.

Keeping in view the above points and discussion the model for agriculture and rural development was
thought of by Himalayan Action Research Centre (HARC) with the objective of overall development
(Social, cultural, economic and environmental) of rural people


                                     Organization
                                    (NGO, Govt or
                                    Semi govt, etc.)


  PR                                                                            F
  OB
                                                                                E
  LE                ASC
  M                                                                             E
                (Agro Service                                RBDC
                                                                                D
                   Centre)                               (Rural Business
  SO                                                                            B
  LV                                                   Development Centre)
                                                                                A
  IN
                                                                                C
   G
                                                                                K


                                      Farmers, SHG’s,
                                        Federations


                                           Impact
                                Overall development of farmer

Fig 1: Indicates the information flow of organization to farmers and inturn their feedback

Note: HARC is basically an NGO working in the Uttrakhand region for more than a decade for
      the development of rural poor/farmers. This model of Agriculture & Rural development
      is the operational strategy of HARC at present.




                                      Himalayan Action Research Centre - 2
                        Components and activities of Agro Service Centre
   Developing               Promotion of organic farming and               Popularising methods of
  Institutional                 resource conservation                      agricultural techniques
    linkages                   Technological inputs on organic             Awareness campaigns
  Developing                 manure                                           Local fairs for
relations with                 Trainings on Integrated pest                 general public with the
Universities and             management (IPM) and Integrated                motive of information
other scientific             pest and nutrition management                  dissemination.
institutions.                (IPNM).                                          Regular camps of
  Developing relation          Promotion of effective water                 interested farmers,
with policy makers in        management techniques like rainwater           resource persons and
government                   harvesting, check dams etc.                    organizers.
departments.                   Awareness campaign and                         Orientations/
  Enriching our              demonstrations for various organic             Exposures/Interfaces
resource pool from           farming techniques.                            etc.
these institutions.            Promotion of moisture control
                             techniques.


                                                                           Strengthening pool
   Strengthening                                                               of bare foot
  organizations at                                                              scientists
  different levels                                                           Increase the number
  Formation and                                                             of bare foot of
strengthening of                                                            scientists.
specialised associations.                                                    Build the capacities
  Forming groups in new                                                     of bare foot scientists
areas that are interested                                                   with respect to new
in federation formation.                                                    technologies through
                                                                            exposure, training etc.

 Information management
          Center                                      Conservation and better seed
 Documenting Organization’s
                                                         management practices
experiences in developing and
                                                      Preservation and promotion of
disseminating different
                                                    traditional seeds.
techniques.
                                                      Promotion of traditional practices for
 Collection of Videocassettes,
                                                    seed conservation and exchange
CDs, Photographs on relative
                                                      Nursery development for various local
subjects.
                                                    millets, medicinal plants, new varieties
 Sourcing resources from our
                                                    etc.
Institutional linkages and open
                                                      Establishment of tissue culture lab for
market on related subjects.
                                                    developing better performing local strains
 Dissemination of the information
                                                      Documentation of traditional seed
to the interested parties
                                                      Promotion of draught prone varieties to
 Development of popular learning
                                                    reduce farmer’s risk.
material

      Fig 2: Indicates the components and activities undertaken by Agro Service centre




                               Himalayan Action Research Centre - 3
                  Components and activities of Rural business Development Centre


                             Strengthening organizational structure
         Designing marketing strategy
         Strengthening federations on Coding Bylaws, Registration etc
         Strengthening federations on government regulatory framework.
         Training farmers for the technicalities of sales activities like order forms; Invoice
         raising, receipts and maintenance of other records.
         Training farmers/Entrepreneurs in conceptualising his plans and projects writing
         application, proposals and projects reports.
          Training on increasing efficiency in administrative matters and organizational aspects.


    Developing rural marketing
         information system.                                     Developing rural market linkages
   Regular Production survey and                                    Designing sales channels for
 analysis.                                                        federations/Rural Entrepreneurs.
   Regular Market survey and analysis                               Networking with private
   Designing and developing rural                                 companies, governmental and semi
 Marketing Information System                                     governmental organizations
   Analysing and Disseminating useful                             involved in the direct retailing,
 and ready to use information to                                  wholesaling, processing or exports
 Micro and macro environment                                      like NDDB etc
   Enriching Resource centre with
                                                                   Initiating Federations to sell
 marketing related inputs.
                                                                  directly to consumers through their
   Developing software/Manual for
                                                                  own retail outlets
 RMIS
   Developing linkages with different                               Product promotional activities
 institutions providing information
 related to marketing




              Building credit and
              financial Linkages.                         Strengthening operational
              Orientation with                                      capacities
            banks/Insurance                             Standardizing Grading, Packing,
            personnel of federation’s                 and Labelling for federations.
            members.                                    Standardizing Processing and value
              Linkages with Financial                 addition practices.
            Institutions (NABARD,                       Assisting federations on acquiring
            SIDBI, local branches of                  and developing supporting
            commercial banks).                        infrastructure and logistic support
              Organising credit card
            fairs.


        Fig 3: Indicates the component and activities undertaken by Rural Bussiness Development Centre

The overall impact of the model could be social, cultural, economic, environmental and legal development.


                                 Himalayan Action Research Centre - 4
                   Socio-cultural impact
                Legal impacts                                                Economic impact
                                                           Environmental impact
    1. Legal status to people
1. Ensured Food Security not only for the present                     1. of crops
                                                      1. DiversificationChecked out flow of money
        institutions.
   generation but also for future generations                            to farming
                                                      2. Promoted organicmiddlemen
    2. Farmers are aware farmers
2. Reduced exploitation ofof certainby eliminating    3. Conserved 2. Increased per capita income
                                                                      natural resources
        legal aspects required for
   middleman.                                                            of the
                                                          (soil and water, etc) farmers.
        trading (Coding Bye laws,
3. Increased Risk Bearing abilities of the farmers.                   3. Reduced
                                                      4. Reduced exploitation of wastage by
        Sales Tax, Income Tax, of farmers.
4. Increased motivational level weights                                   by optimum
                                                          local resourcesincreasing efficiency of
        and measure, F.P.O, influence the policies of the utilization
5. Act as a pressure group toExcise                                      farmers in marketing of
        duties
   governmentetc.).                                   5. Conservation andgoods.
    3. Streamlined Trade women irrespective of caste documentation of
6. Equal status to men andby                                          4. Ensured quality control by
   and creed, etc.
        systamatically organising it.                                    increasing
                                                          indigenous technologies their skills in
7. Promoted cultural values of the society.                              Grading, packing, etc inturn
8. Increased Decision making abilities of rural poor                     getting good prices.
                                                                      5. Increasing farmer’s skills in
                                                                         understanding different
                                                                         aspects of trade..


     Fig 4: Indicates the over all impact of the rural development model.




                                Himalayan Action Research Centre - 5
REFERENCES:

Paroda R.S., 1999, For a food secure future. The Hindu Survey of Indian Agriculture
         : 18-23
Venkataraman A., 2002, Agricultural Extension- How do we respond to the emerging environment? The
Hindu Survey of Indian Agriculture: 23-26.

Perumal G, Vijayragvan k and Ponnuswamy K, A., 1995, Strengthening the farm extension system for
sustainable agriculture and human development. Department of Agril. Extension, Tamil nadu Agril.
University, Coimbatore.




                               Himalayan Action Research Centre - 6

								
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