Million Farmers School: Bridging Gaps through Digital Mode
The government of Uttar Pradesh has launched the programme called The Million Farmers’ School (TMFS) in 2017-18 to provide an extension module for the rabi (winter-spring) planting season and conducting kisaan pathshalas for the dissemination of scientifically recommended package of practices specific to the crops grown.
Million Farmers’ School
- Under the programme, training sessions spread over four days of roughly 90 minutes each, undertaken mainly in government primary/junior school buildings accessible to a cluster of villages.
- The programme was again repeated in 2018-19 for both kharif and rabi seasons.
- For the current Kharif season a digital extension programme called ‘Vaigyanikon ki Baat, Kisaano ke Saath’ (scientists-talking-to-farmers) was undertaken.
- This extension programme involved scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre), state agricultural universities and the department interacting with farmers on a wide range of issues related to farming and agriculture.
- The experts address and take questions from farmers through video conferencing.
- The live streaming helped to reach the wide ambit of the audience.
These initiatives of the Agriculture Department of the Uttar Pradesh government sought to revive the system of dissemination of knowledge with regard to improved agronomic and post-harvest management practices as well as information on government schemes relating to the sector. It also helped re-establish contact between farmers and the agriculture department.
The department also leveraged digital technology by piggybacking on the wide penetration of smartphones in rural areas and falling data costs to enhance the reach of the programmes.
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