Jammu- The Jammu and Kashmir administration has approved a five year project worth Rs 463 crore, aimed at empowering farmers and educated youth through technology-driven and inclusive agri-extension services, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
One of the crucial outcomes of the project on “Innovative Extension Approaches for Revitalizing Agriculture in Jammu and Kashmir” would be creation of 2,000 ‘Kisan Khidmat Ghars’ (KKGs), which will serve as an ‘one stop centre’ for extending farmer oriented services, said Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department.
He said the extension system in Jammu and Kashmir faces many challenges, including serving a large clientele with structural complexity and functional diversity.
“Currently, there is a significant gap between extension workers and farmers, with a ratio of 1:1100 and contact intensity of one hour per farmer every year. The existing system is also plagued by defects such as lack of realistic base-level information, poor coordination and cohesiveness among the extension players and a low level of public confidence,” he said.
Dulloo said the project aims to address these issues by developing a dynamic agri-extension system using IoT-enabled real-time big data for farm-centric planning and resource allocation.
“This technology enabled system will form the basis for a proactive agriculture extension system with a cluster approach. This approach will use real-time regional analysis of climate and agro-ecology information to promote niche agriculture under given agro-climatic conditions,” he said.
The official said the project is one among the 29 projects, which were approved by the Jammu and Kashmir administration after being recommended by the UT Level Apex Committee for holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors here.
Dulloo said the project envisages to promote sustainable and profitable agriculture with a significant increase in the share of agricultural GDP.
“To achieve this goal, the project will establish 2,000 Panchayat level KKGs, revitalising the Block-level Extension Advisory Committee and promoting Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) as a hub of convergence of services at the district level.
“The project will also establish business orientation centres at SKUAST-Kashmir and Jammu and facilitate real time problem redressal through cyber extension, including RS-GIS driven agro-advisories and ICT-based virtual contacts and communication systems,” he said.
It will serve as a knowledge centre with modern ICT tools, including a kiosk, to provide direct access to various information such as input supply, technology, marketing, and more. The KKG will be a platform for public-private partnership to manage the value chain effectively and economically,” the official said, adding that KKG will have a technical facilitator to provide end-to-end services to farmers at nominal charges.
Meanwhile, the project would also reorient capacity building programme nd promote secondary agriculture.
“This will include training in agri-business, marketing, secondary agriculture and non-farm activities. It will constitute an ‘Agri-Extension Club’ promoting regular online Expert Extension Lecture Series and skilling farmers and youth in mission mode for profitable agriculture, entrepreneurship development, agri-business startups, employment generation and livelihood security,” he said.