Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services: Serving Farming Community by Agripreneurship Amid COVID-19

Working paper 4
MANAGE Centre for Agricultural Extension Innovations,
Reforms and Agripreneurship

The COVID-19 outbreak has generated extreme vulnerability in the agriculture sector by creating a future threat to food security. The Agricultural Extension and Advisory Service (EAS) systems have been playing a crucial role at the frontline of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in rural areas. This is not the first time that EAS has been called to intervene in an emerging catastrophe. As an institution with trained technical staff, the extension has supported efforts and educated communities during natural disasters. Agripreneurs trained under the AC & ABC scheme have changed their way of operating in order to adapt to the government regulations. Efforts by MANAGE and partners have resulted in the training of 72,806 agri-graduates and the establishment of 30,583 (42%) active agriventures across the world as of 2 December 2020. Although the pandemic has affected the agripreneurs’ business in terms of getting recommended inputs, reduced sale of inputs and monthly turnover, their extension services have remained significant.

Agripreneurship has been linked to augmented growth and amplified quality of life. During a crisis, the importance of agripreneurship has increased. In this hardest time, the majority of agripreneurs have been continuing their venture activity and offering different services by adopting digital extension methods. The agripreneurs faced stagnation of work in India from the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, especially during April and May due to a nationwide lockdown. The lack of mobility has imposed the agripreneurs to adopt various online extension platforms to be in touch with their clients consequently. Mobile calling and social media platforms are used for exchanging timely and relevant information. Further, the agripreneurs have perceived various problems faced by the farming community in the light of pandemic which includes difficulty in receiving the recommended inputs and services, difficulty in selling the produce at remunerative prices.