Blogs Extension Approaches

BLOG – 65: Demand-Driven Extension: Need for Public Extension to Turnaround

“Is it not strange that agriculture in India has transformed itself, while the public extension has lost its way? The supply-driven extension, now regarded as largely inaccessible, ineffective and irrelevant, should make way for a more dynamic ‘demand driven’ extension system”, argues Dr Arun Balamatti

Dr Arun Balamatti is Senior Scientist and Head, ICAR JSS Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Suttur 571 129, Nanjangud Taluk, Mysuru District, Karnataka. (Email:




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  • Arun has brought out a stunning example from his own experience. You have rightly pointed out that the KVKs, if burdened furthermore, will collapse one day under the weight of expectations from a range of stakeholders. The state departments admit that they have completely given up their role of providing advisories and have doubled up only as input dispensing shops. There is a little hope at the end of the tunnel if the government pushes ahead with its direct benefit transfer (DBT) to farmers accounts, the departments will get another chance to resurrect themselves and do their core job. But there is no guarantee that it will happen. Whatever said and done, KVK system must have a clarity of what they should do and should not. It is too much of a wishful thinking to expect that KVKs with limited manpower and funding can take the burden serving an entire district.

  • Response from Dr Arun to Dr Mruthyunjayas comments Dear Sir, Thank you for your reaction on my blog on Demand-driven Extension. You are absolutely right on pointing out how much more burden we keep on adding to KVKs. Please wait for a while I will also share a Good Practice Note, which is entirely based on our KVKs innovative Agri Clinic experience. The initiative was triggered by the failure of mainstream extension system spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture. While the KVKs are supposed to be the link institutions between the research and development agencies, the weakened extension system is making everyone to look at KVKs to do everything this in turn is raising expectations and putting enormous pressure on KVKs. While this is not a desired development, I personally took a position that I cannot tell others what they should be doing without a proven experience/ model therefore, I decided to try a pilot, prove that it works, and now I am saying any public agency could emulate it, not necessarily the KVKs. Sitting on the experience of the KVK and being an insider to KVKs I took the liberty of saying KVKs could do it but didn t forget to add the rider – with suitable structural changes.Thank you once again for your detailed and insightful response, and deep concern for KVKs.

  • Thanks for sending me yet another master piece on how to reinvent/reorient public agricultural extension system in India. As I know of Dr.Balamati, his narrations make immense sense as they come from serious thinking and work experience in the system. As he himself admits the plea for demand driven extension services is decades old, but this time he properly re-contextualizes it which is good.But his suggestion to consider KVKs to take over the role of extending the technology as well as input delivery after suitable changes in mandates, staff structure and other support systems requires serious debate. No doubt without formally entrusting this work to KVKs, both Government and public have assumed that they should fill the bill defaulted by huge public extension set up in the country. In fact, there was a move 3-4 years ago that DOAC (MoA, GoI) was ready to take over KVKs. The Department cannot provide competent and trustworthy technical backstopping and ICAR cannot handle input delivery and other support and governance system.These are inherent system weaknesses which neither can overcome. But the dire need for change who knows may drive the systems to overcome their historic system weaknesses and clinch the deal. The issue is important, urgent and requires serious national debate among all the concerned.

  • Many thanks for sharing this blog. Now the web site design is very good. I wish more and more extension professionals access the quality information on several aspects of agricultural extension up loaded in the web site and share their views ultimately to help serve the farming community better.

  • This blog again points out the vagaries of Indian farmer who has limited control on the factors which influence profitability. As indicated a farmer will reap the profits IF he gets quality inputs at competitive prices ( marketing) , judicious use of the inputs ( production), harvesting good crop ( million dollar ?) and selling for profit ( marketing). Neither the extension system nor the farmer has any control on all the above factors except selecting quality inputs and their use. As everybody knows the farmer although is a producer has no say in price fixation of his produce unlike many other commodities. It is comparatively easy to produce than selling it. This is the scenario with few farmers who have access to quality information. It is any body’s guess about the fate of most of the farmers who have little or no access to quality information sources. The Public sector Extension system is helping the farmer in improving the production but helpless in getting remunerative prices for the produce. Whereas some private extension agencies are involved not only in improving the production through supply of quality seeds and providing extension advice but also in selling the produce. The question is “ who can help the farmer in marketing his produce with reasonable profit margins? “ Do we expect that the Govt. should decide the minimum support prices for all the agricultural commodities or fix the area under different crops in a region or state or bear the losses due to crop failure ? I congratulate Dr.Arun for coming out with pertinent issues that the Indian farmer is facing.

  • This yet another well articulated blog from AESA reminds me of the days of black & white TV, when Doordarshan (government) used to be the sole TV channel in India that too with fixed timings, with no choice to the viewers to change the channel. One has to see whatever is being offered by this channel. But in the era of cable/sky TV with 100s of channels, quality rules. Same way, public extension used to be the sole source for farmers for new information. The days of monopoly has gone with the entry of multiple extension services providers. The public extension has to be competitive to sustain in pluralistic environment of extension services. When people have choices, the public sector has pressure to meet the requirements of farmers by offering the best advice timely. It makes an excellent reading which suggest what public sector extension services must do to sustain in the arena of extension and advisory services. Congratulations Dr Arun Balamatti for your efforts in making a case for public extension services.