Though extension scientists in the NARS can potentially engage in useful research that can influence the technology development process, they are mostly engaged in organizing training programmes, conducting events, dealing with visitors to the institute and handling documentation responsibilities. Senior extension scientists, Dr M J Chandra Gowda, Dr Sreenath Dixit, Dr R Roy Burman and Dr P N Ananth reflect on this situation here and suggest how extension research can better contribute to technology development.
Dr M.J. Chandre Gowda (email@example.com), Principal Scientist at ICAR-Zonal Project Directorate (Zone VIII), Bangalore.
Dr Sreenath Dixit, Zonal Project Director at ICAR-Zonal Project Directorate (Zone VIII), Bangalore.
Dr R Roy Burman is Senior Scientist (Agricultural Extension) at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.
Dr P N Ananth is Programme Coordinator at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Khurda, Odisha.
I complement the authors for depicting the existing status of agricultural extension in our country as well as suggestions to go ahead.It is true that research in extension is not a priority for almost all the extension departments / divisions/organisations, whether it is ICAR ( establsihing and supervising KVKs) or KVKs for that matter ( staff are loaded with training programmes and other routine activities in the entire district) or SAUs/SVUs ( staff busy with teaching and other routine non extension activities). They also made it clear ( even earlier blogs)that our research ( mostly students work ) has not gone beyond technology adoption and that could be the reason why many people consider extension is nothing but TOT. Many of us agree with your statement There is urgent need for a strong extension research to generate acceptable proof of contribution of extension research to agricultural development. Comments of Drs. Prasad and Mahesh Chander also emphasise the same point. I feel the initiative must come from ICAR, the apex body concerned with research and extension in agriculture. It is high time that the division of Agril Extension, ICAR must take the lead in focusing on research in extension rather than restricting its domain to KVKs.
I am happy to note that research in extension is gaining significance. The blog by Gowda et al is much relevant, interesting and informative. I agree to the process outlined in the blog. My suggestions are 1. Problem identification- here, not only farmers, all stakeholders of technology should be consulted. 2. Development- Farmer-researcher-industry meet should be organised. 3. Research- Value Analysis could be one option 4. Commercialization- Value chain analysis may be conducted 5. Diffusion and adoption- Here, the process may be modified as – Capacity building and outreach 6. Consequences- both intended and unintended (unexpected) consequences may be studied
Happy to see, there is increasing focus on extension research- at least need is being realized. It was good to read, the reference on yield gaps could be useful for those preparing for ARS /SRF examination as previously the questions have been asked about this aspect.