Highlight the hurdles faced by agricultural extension services in India. Also, explain how Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) can help to strengthen National Agricultural Research Extension System.

Agricultural extension is the process of providing informal advice to the farmers so that they can improve their income by changing farming methods, cropping pattern and input usage based on scientific advice.

Problems with agricultural extension:

  • Reach – All farmers do not have access, especially the ones in backward and remote areas. Only 60% farmers have access to extension services.
  • Quality of extension services provided is also an issue in itself.
  • Shortage of extension service workers in rural areas and remote regions.
  • Lack of district level weather forecasts to supplement the advices given by extension workers to the farmers.

Role of Krishi Vigyan Kendras:

  • They have agricultural scientists who can directly reach out to the farmers.
  • KVKs provide bulletins to the farmers in order to help them make informed decisions on crop selection based on various factors like weather forecasts, soil health, demand in market, etc.
  • KVKs are playing a key role in implementing soil health card scheme to correct the imbalance in the fertilizer usage in India.

Its betterment is imperative for India’s all round growth as more than 40% of the Indian workforce is engaged in agriculture. It is necessary to streamline delivery of extension services to uplift the condition of farmers.

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