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Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs)-Harbingers of Second Green Revolution
7/10/2020 12:14:33 AM

Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Vikas Tandon

J&K is predominantly an agrarian economy. This Union Territory is endowed with the wide range of agro-climatic conditions which are conducive for growing different types of crops. Agriculture is the major occupation of the people of J&K where more than 75 per cent of the population is directly or indirectly associated with agriculture. Thus, agricultural development harbingers the overall growth and development of this Union Territory. Jammu and Kashmir is a mountainous Union Territory in which about 30 per cent of the area is under cultivation. Agriculture is the mainstay of the people as it provides employment to about 75 per cent of the workforce. Judicious use of land is necessary to mitigate the growing needs of the increasing population of this UT by keeping the sustainability of soils, ecosystems and environment in view. The average size of land holding of the J&K is only 0.54 hectare against 1.33 hectares’ land holding size on national basis. The agro-diversity of J&K varies from sub-tropical in Jammu region and temperate in Kashmir region. The average annual rainfall of these two regions is 1069mm and 660mm. The average temperatures of these two regions are 24.5 and 13.3 Centigrade respectively.
There is need to bridge the gap between production and consumption of food grains.There is dire need to increase the income and employment in agriculture and allied sectors for the farmers of this hilly UT. There is possibility to increase the production and productivity of the crops and to enable the farmers to diversify their crop production by adopting the modern technologies in agriculture and establishing the infrastructure for the farm production of hilly areas of J&K. There is need to promote the diversification in agriculture and move towards high value crops like vegetables, aromatic and medicinal plants, saffron, mushroom, beekeeping, silkworms, pulses etc. J&K is endowed with ample natural resources including soil, water, climatic condition, diversity, topography, rich natural flora etc. which are conducive for the cultivation of a wide range of crops. It is matter of grave concern that the interest of younger generation in J&K is dwindling towards agriculture. About 58 per cent area under agriculture is rainfed and remaining 42 per cent is irrigated in J&K. Maize is first rank crop in J&K occupying one-third of the total cropped area, rice at number second in 28.58 per cent area of gross cropped area and wheat at number three which covers around 26 per cent of the total cropped area.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) are considered as the resource centres for the agricultural knowledge. They are also known as Farm Science Centers, a gross root level scheme which was designed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in the country. In 1964-66, the Education Commission of Government of India under the chairmanship of Dr. D.S. Kothari gave recommendations for the application of science to productive process including agricultural education. The Planning Commission of India and Inter-Ministerial Committee reviewed the recommendations. A committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta was constituted by the ICAR in 1973 which further gave the recommendations for the establishment of KVKs in the country. The first Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) was established in 1974 at Pudducherry under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore by the ICAR, New Delhi. Presently, the ICAR has established 713 KVKs all over the country under different organizations like State Agricultural Universities, the ICAR institutes, Deemed Universities, Central Institutes, State Governments and NGOs. KVKs of J&K are working under the ATARI (Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Zone-1 established at PAU, Ludhiana. In Jammu and Kashmir UT ICAR has established 17 KVKs under two agricultural universities SKUAST-Jammu, SKUAST-Kashmir and one KVK under Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture (CITH). These KVKs are mitigating the scientific agricultural needs of the farmers of Jammu and Kashmir. These KVKs are playing a pivotal role in transformation in rural areas of J&K by updating the rural people about the latest agricultural technologies. These KVKs are immensely playing a major role in farmers’ prosperity. The KVKs have proved their worth to mitigate the agricultural needs of the farmers. The KVKs empower the farmers through need-based farmers/vocational trainings and helpful to change the socio-economic conditions of the farmers. Throughout the UT the Krishi Vigyan Kendras conduct on-farm testing, identify the location specificity of agricultural technologies, lay out front line demonstrations to establish the production potential of various agricultural technologies at farmers fields, impart need-based and skill oriented training to the practicing farmers, in-service extensional personnel , to those who are interested for self-employment to update their knowledge and skills in new agricultural technologies, create awareness on improved technologies through various extension methods, produce and provide improved quality seeds, planting material, livestock, poultry, fisheries etc. to the farmers and work as agricultural knowledge centers for the public, private and voluntary organizations.
These Kendras cater the needs of those who wish to be self-employed or those who are already employed. There is no particular syllabus for the Krishi Vigyan Kendras. The programmes and syllabus(action plan) of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras are tailored according to the needs, resources and potential for the agricultural growth in a particular area and is finally decided by involving the districts heads, Panches/Sarpanches and also progressive farmers of the district.
KVKs have the responsibility of taking the fruition of the laboratories to the field.The prime objective of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras is agricultural growth. Priority is given to the weaker sections of the society like small, marginal, tribal farmers, agricultural labourers, drought prone areas, hilly areas, forest areas, coastal areas etc. and work-experience is the main method of imparting training. The first objective of the ICAR is to cover the entire country with one Krishi Vigyan Kendra in each district and priority is given to the backward areas. As there is a great demand for the improved agricultural technologies by the farmers so there is great demand of Krishi Vigyan Kendras throughout the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Farmers need not only the latest knowledge of the technologies but also more skills in the agricultural operations for adoption. The KVKs decide certain thrust areas according to the agro-ecological, cropping pattern and farming system of the respective district. The major thrust areas of hilly districts of Jammu and Kashmir are as (i)Integrated nutrient/pest/weed management in different crops(ii)Water management (iii)Promoting organic farming (iv)Protected cultivation of high value and low value crops(v) Promotion of aromatic and medicinal plants (vi)Increase in the productivity of livestock (vi)Drudgery reduction for farm women (vi)Promotion of loose flower cultivation (vii)Promotion of new single cross hybrids in maize(viii)Value addition of agricultural products etc.
Follow-up of extension programmes are conducted after trainings in order to get the impact of the trainings on the trainees and proper documentation of the programmes is done. The KVKs also take the help of mass media (electronic and print both) for timely dissemination of agricultural information even to the farmers of far-flung areas. Co-ordination of various development departments and private agencies plays a vital role for the success of extension programmes of KVKs. The KVKs also conduct technology weeks to create awareness among the farmers about the latest technologies in agriculture and allied sectors and disseminate the agricultural information to the farmers of respective districts through short message service (SMS). The KVKs are also involved in production of quality seeds, planting materials, livestock material and bio-products and supply them to the farmers. KVK maintains the farm on the scientific basis for the demonstration purpose in order to provide the work experience to the farmers and also to disseminate the latest agricultural technologies. It has been experienced that with the introduction of Krishi Vigyan Kendras in J&K, the adoption rate of new agricultural technologies have been increased. It has been observed that the farmers of the J&K are using hybrid/improved/high yielding varieties of maize, paddy, wheat, pulses, oilseeds etc. KVKs are successful in diverting the farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming.
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