Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan SharmaIndia is a land of villages and most of the people residing in the villages are farmers. Agriculture is the major occupation of the people and around 60 per cent of the population is directly associated with agriculture. Agricultural development is helpful for the overall growth and development of the country. Agriculture is the mainstay of the people as it provides employment to more than half of the population of the country. This sector contribution signifies the dependency of the country on agriculture. The green revolution increased the agricultural production of the nation and India became self-reliant in many agro-commodities. But a lot is needed to improve the condition of the farmers as they are really the backbone of the country. Judicious use of land is necessary to mitigate the growing needs of the increasing population by keeping the sustainability of soils, ecosystems and environment in view. Every year 16th of July is celebrated as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Foundation Day. The ICAR has contributed immensely to increase the food grain production in India. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has started a scheme to establish innovative agricultural science-based institutions called as Krishi Vigyan Kendras (Farm Science Centres) in the country. The National Commission on Agriculture and the Planning Commission have strongly recommended its implementation. In order to work out the details of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras, a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta was constituted by the ICAR in 1973. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras are mainly designed to impart need-based and skill oriented training to the practicing farmers, in-service extensional personnel and to those who are interested for self-employment. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras are implemented through State Agricultural Universities, selected ICAR institutes, central universities, voluntary organisations and State Governments. The first Krishi Vigyan Kendra was established in 1974 at Pudducherry under Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras are concerned with agricultural technical literacy, the acquisition of which does not require as a precondition to read or write. 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 of Krishi Vigyan Kendra are tailored according to the needs, resources and potential for the agricultural growth in a particular area. Agricultural growth is the prime goal of the Krishi Vigyan Kendras. 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 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 country. Farmers need not only the knowledge of the technologies but also more skills in the agricultural operations for adoption. Now the effectiveness of Krishi Vigyan Kendras has been enhanced by the addition of on-farm testing and front line demonstrations on the agricultural technologies. The four major functions of Krishi Vigyan Kendras are (i) To impart training to the farmers and extension functionaries. (ii)To organise long-term vocational training for the rural youths in order to generate the self-employment.(iii)To layout front-line demonstrations at farmers field to generate the production data and also to get feedback from the farmers.(iv)To conduct on-farm tests, refinement and documentation of agricultural technologies. Needs based trainings are designed for different types of farmers. The training courses are designed on the basis of information received from village survey through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) or Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) methods and characterise the human and physical resources. The farming system of the farmers is taken into account while designing the courses of the programmes. All methods and means to develop the skill among the farmers in their areas of interest are taken into account. Basically the trainings starts from the farmers production units such as farmers fields, dairy units, poultry units, goat units, sheep units etc. and terminates with discussion. No certificate or diploma is awarded to the farmers for the trainings. Follow-up extension programmes are conducted after trainings in order to get the impact of the trainings on the trainees. The KVK staff is comprised the sixteen members team. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra is headed by Senior Scientist-cum-Head. The subject Matter Specialists (SMSs)/scientists from the different discipline like Agricultural Extension, Horticulture, Agronomy, Home Science, Animal Science and Fisheries forms the scientific staff of the KVK. The programmes are assisted by a Programme Assistant. Farm Manager takes care of KVK farm which is mainly used for demonstration purpose. The agricultural universities KVKs are headed by the Director Extension (DE) and at zone level KVKs are monitored and guided by Director Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI).At central level KVKs are headed by Deputy Director General (DDG). The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) provides guidelines to KVKs and conducts periodic supervision. KVK is having its own buildings, demonstration farm, vehicles, and farmer’s hostels for scientific staff. KVK executes its activities with the help and guidance of local management committee. The KVKs are provided 100% financial assistance from the ICAR. Krishi Vigyan Kendra plans and conducts survey of the operational areas to identify the training needs of the farmers. It compiles all the recommendations for the district to utilize in the training programmes. KVK conducts need-based, production oriented short and long-term training courses both on and off campus. 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. KVK also imparts some general training to the rural illiterates and school drop outs in order to convert them as the good farmers. KVK also provides trainings to the women for home making and nutrition education for rural community and also on other areas like cottage industries home crafts etc. KVK undertakes on-farm testing of the agricultural technologies and allied aspects for their suitability and also to identify the constraints. KVK helps to implement all the schemes of the ICAR and other related organisations. KVK demonstrates the various technologies to recommend for their adoption for maximizing the yield or income per unit time in different resource conditions. Presently India is having more than 683 KVKs all over the country. Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu is also having its seven Krishi Vigyan Kendras which are catering the agricultural needs of the farmers of Jammu province. The Krishi Vigyan Kendras are really transforming the rural areas. (The writers are Scientist and Head of KVK, Reasi and Scientist at KVK, Kathua (SKUAST-J).
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