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BLOG-49: Governance: The Missing Piece in KVK Reforms

Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) do face a number of governance challenges. Addressing these issues is important to enhance the contribution and impact of KVKs argues Dr P N Ananth.

Dr P N Ananth is Programme Coordinator, Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Khordha, ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA). He could be contacted at



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  • To strengthen KVKs, the following five suggestions may be taken into consideration. FIELD TRIAL OF COMMUNITY-BASED EXTENSION MODELS KVKs conduct On-Farm Testing (OFT), Frontline Demonstration (FLD) and Farm advisories using Information Communication Technology (ICT). However, modern extension strategies centre around the community. The Community-based Extension Models also need to be tested and refined. Therefore, under the SREP (Strategic Research and Extension Plan), the KVKs may take up Field Trial for Extension Education Models (FTEM). The following models can be tried separately for community-based agriculture, horticulture, livestock and fisheries extension services. Farmers’ Friends Selection, supervision and superannuation criteria of Farmers Friends. Field School: Standardizing the best practices for Field Schools. Agribusiness Center Prospecting Knowledge Partnership for agriclinics and agribusiness centers SHGs Prospecting knowledge-partnership for entrepreneurial activities for SHGs Producer Company Prospecting the possibilities of potential producer-companies in the district. Trickle Down System (TDS) of Aquaculture Extension Pilot project on TDS of aquaculture extension. Co-management Pilot project on co-management of natural resources. Family Farmers Survey: Survey based strategy for family farmers and food security Skill Development of farm labours Designing training programmes for skill development of agricultural labours in emerging technology. Community Radio: Prospecting the possibilities of self – financed community radio for the farmers and fishers. Private extension models This may be tried with input marketing. FARMERS MALL/MARKET TO COMBAT FOOD INFLATION Such markets put the customer in direct contact with the farmers and fishermen. Many farmers may cut out the middlemen and no longer sell to supermarkets. On top of this, many farmers may establish links with restaurants and other food outlets the district. Farmers can then sell at market and deliver to retailers. Those farmers and fishers, who adopt KVK recommendations and are certified by such KVKs may be encouraged to sell through such KVK-FARMERS MALL/MARKETS. This can also be a measure for instilling a sense of belonging in the organizations. ACCREDITATION BY A COMMITTEE EVERY SECOND YEAR: Several KVKs are run on the public-private partnership mode, which is rather unique in the world. As almost 100 Krishi Vigyan Kendras are being run by the Non Government Organizations (NGOs), there is a need to accredit KVKs by a committee every second year. It is in addition to the recommendation that depicts, In the event of unsatisfactory progress of the work of any Krishi Vigyan Kendra, as assessed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research from time-to-time, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research shall reserve its right to terminate/close such Krishi Vigyan Kendra under any host organization by giving six months advance notice for the same. In that event, Indian Council of Agricultural Research shall not have any liability whatever, and the immovable as well as movable properties constructed/acquired with the assistance of Indian Council of Agricultural Research shall remain the property of Indian Council of Agricultural Research… In view of the rapid increase in number of Krishi Vigyan Kendras and their activities, strengthening of Agricultural Extension Division at Indian Council of Agricultural Research Headquarters and Zonal Project Directorates becomes a necessity for effective monitoring and evaluation. Accordingly, required additional manpower has been proposed, besides filling up of the vacant posts in the Agricultural Extension Division and Zonal Project Directorates expeditiously. RECRUITMENT THOUGH ARS AND ALLIED SERVICES: It is observed that many states have not recruited proper staffs who can carry out the functions effectively. A centralized selection through ASRB is recommended to select quality staffs in the KVKs. ARS and Allied Services can be recommended to incorporate the ARS scientists and KVK-SMSs. ACCOMMODATION, ELECTRICITY, TRANSPORT AND OTHER FACILITIES TO THE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN OF THE STAFFS Many KVKs lack proper facilities for their staff and their family. Such KVKs that have performed well may be incentivised by rewarding their family members with better electricity, quarter and tuition fee for their children.

  • KVK governance has many issues which need to be sorted out. These issues relate both to work ethics, supervision and data management.v

  • There are series of issues that pertain to KVK Reforms. Some of them have been addressed in our Cabinet Committee Report developed with Shri J N L Srivastava in Chair. Notably, the KVK has to excel in technology testing and validation and in developing technology options for micro agro situations in a district across the sectors. This function, if handled properly would enhance the relevance and credibility of KVK with the line departments. KVK as an instrument of front line extension is appreciable, however, if u load or think it as a solution to all the extension needs of the district…then perhaps the assumption is misplaced because coverage of KVK activities is too limited and it has just PC plus 6 SMSs which are just enough for frontline extension experiments in a limited way. The best thing for KVK is • to provide technology back up to field extension and build the capacities of Farmer Friends, the ATMA functionaries and extension entrepreneurs by way of systemically organized training programmes and • keep innovating the extension approaches, extension models for micro-situations and think up-scaling through pluralistic links down the line including the state government field functionaries and • eventually grow itself as a strong resource centre in given district

  • The blog by Dr Ananth is timely. Though many issues are discussed, I feel there are still many missing links which need an elaborate analysis. I would like to flag some governance issues which are relevant in the context of KVK functioning. • The notion of governance beyond its delivery and distribution roles is a process that encompasses KVK-society interactions and partnerships. Whether institutional mechanism for partnerships, collaboration and co-operation exists with the KVKs and general guidelines for partnership exists? • Governance quality is an important factor which is yet to be addressed by KVKs. Whether KVKs have any role in ensuring governance quality? • Whether KVKs can really address governance challenges related to sustainable crop diversification? • There are many governance challenges related to technology to be addressed. For instance, home scientists of KVKs may develop a product (nutrient food). Whether KVK can market the product without getting approval from food safety authorities? • Similarly, in relation to quality seed, many governance issues are to be addressed

  • I have read the well written Blog on the governance concerns of KVKs and I fully agree with them. As I was closely involved in QRT of Zone 8 in the recent past, I can say that the support of the host institute, leadership ability, communication capacity, partnership with development departments, input, credit and insurance agencies, strengths in science and market intelligence are some of the indicators which differentiated performing KVKs from less performing. There is no dearth of diagnosis and suggested remedies, but implementation failures. Hope such cries as this Blog attempts will add pressure to respond.

  • I fully agree and appreciate the issues raised by Dr.P.N Ananth, PC of KVK, Khordha, Bhubaneswar. KVKs should not be considered as a panacea for all the ills of farming in a district. One should not expect that the KVK with limited staff and budget will be able to deliver the goods in the entire district. But within the existing budgetary and HR constraints, KVKs are expected to perform in fulfilling the mandate. Some of the KVKs are doing extremely well but suffering with poor recording. The KVK personnel need to be trained in systematic assessment of the KVKs. We need to examine, whether the budget for the KVKs is also increasing with increase in the number of KVKs? Is there any mechanism to close down non performing or poor performing KVKs and encourage the better performing KVKs? As pointed out earlier it is necessary to rank them and support the KVKs based on their rankings. There must be administrative and financial freedom to the PCs to chalk out the training programmes as per the need assessment and execute them. Many of these issues could be sorted out provided there is a good coordination between the KVK and the host institute be it NGO, ICAR institute or State Dept. Of Agriculture which rarely happens mostly because of personality conflicts. I feel most of the issues Dr.Ananth raised are quite relevant to the functioning of KVKs and these need to be addressed to sustain the performance of the KVKs

  • Ananth deserves credit for opening up the Pandoras box to reveal the pains of working in a KVK. His blog refelcts how an innovative concept of Farm Science Centre of the late 1970s, has lost luster over the years. As Dr Ananth rightly said, KVKs are viewed merely training centres and provided with a quantifiable mandate like other field extension functionaries. Good governance is certainly an issue in KVKs but other organisations under NARS also have similar issues. However, the core issue is the ignorance of top research/extension adminsitraors that extension is a capital-intensive activity – financial, human and natural. Technology evaluation, transfer and facilitation in complex socio-economic systems are highly demanding than generating technologies in a more defined and condusive research environment. The KVKs, which are probably the most visible field extension agency among farmers and other stakeholders in districts, truly deserve adequate attention. From my experience of working with KVKs in Odisha and North-Eastern states to implement front-line extension programmes, I would say that the KVK staff are over-loaded and forced to implement programmes of other Institutions without any credit. Though we implemented a defined programme by officially involving KVK SMS in those projects and included them as co-authors in the publications, they couldnt pay adequate attention due to heavy workload.Many SAUs are still continuing with the policy of keeping KVK staff permanantly into the extension system, that results in demotivation and distress. In a NARS syestem, where extension is used as an instrument by the research and education managers to showcase their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) skills, the extension personnel at KVKs and other similar systems will continue to suffer.

  • Thank you Dr. P N. Ananth sir for very interesting blog highlighting the scenario at field conditions. May be apart from having an increase in the quantity of KVKs, we also need to focus on improving the quality of KVKs with regards to performance and governanceiv

  • The importance of this blog lies in it coming from a KVK Programme Coordinator- who face the challenges in day to day operations of KVKs. Rightly it addresses the governance issues at KVKs which haven’t received enough attention so far. Rightly said, the performance of KVKs directly depends on the quality of its governance. Congratulations to Dr P N Ananth & AESA, for bringing out this thought provoking blog

  • Yes, I have just gone through it. Written nicely. Adding to that article, I feel that KVK system is facing multiple directives syndrome. Losing the joy of creativity. We are so busy in following instructions of multiple monitoring and evaluation agencies that we don’t have time to even think. our system is least empathetic with scientists. We all are fragmented and fighting battles on our own. I sincerely feel that a forum for kvk is required urgently.
    Our behaviour lacks attributes of leadership and initiative. Though we are very obedient and good followers leading our career without motivation.