Agriculture Extension System in India: Review of Current Status, Trends and the Way Forward
Gulati, Ashok; Sharma, Pravesh; Samantara, Anisha; Terway, Prerna | March 2018
Public spending on agriculture is one of the key policy instruments of the government to promote growth and alleviate poverty in rural areas. Amongst various types of government spending, Agricultural Research and Education (R&E) is found to be one of the most critical for promoting farm yields, which contributes towards augmenting incomes of peasantry and thus reducing rural poverty. In this paper, we look at agriculture R&E, but with a focus on extension and training system in India, with a view to examine its impact on agri-GDP growth. We look at the way entire R&E, and Extension in particular is organized, how much is being spent on this item both in absolute terms but more importantly as a percent of agri-GDP and on per hectare basis. We do this at all India level and in six special focus states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab. While doing this, we also look at international experience, and if there are any lessons to be learnt between our focused states or across countries in search of "best practices". Based on this review and analysis, we offer some policy recommendations that can help propel growth in agriculture and reduce rural poverty faster. It is worth noting that India spends about 0.7 per cent of its GDPA (2014-15) on aggregate agriculture research including education, extension and training (AgRE&XT) as against the recommended level of 2 percent of agri-GDP by the World Bank (1981; p.8). Out of this 0.7 percent (AgRE&XT) of agri-GDP, agri- research and education (AgR&E) alone amounts to 0.54 percent at all India level. There are, however, considerable variations across states. Further, India's allocation of agriculture R&E is highly skewed towards crop husbandry. Sector-wise break up shows that around 70 per cent of agriculture R&E is allocated to crop husbandry alone, while only 10 per cent is allocated to animal husbandry and dairy development. Similarly, decomposition of expenditure on agriculture extension and training (AgXT) shows that around 92 percent of this expenditure was allocated for crop husbandry and a meagre 0.9 per cent was allocated for animal husbandry and dairy. This is in contrast to the gradual transformation of the agriculture sector in India towards animal husbandry and dairy. The study also takes lessons from the field with focused group discussions carried out in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab-Haryana Belt. With a current global tilt towards resource management and sustainability, there is an urgent need to re-prioritise the existing extension system to transcend from the traditional food security perspective to a more market led-extension system. Further, we show in this paper that there is a positive and significant association between public agriculture R&E and extension and training expenditure and agricultural GDPA in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh using a simple OLS and Engle-Granger test of co-integration. In the light of these findings, the study makes the following recommendations to bolster agriculture R&E and Extension in India and the selected states viz., (i) strengthen links between research and extension by increasing cross sharing of experiences between the public, private and civil society sectors; (ii) diversify agriculture R&E and extension portfolio, at the margin, away from crops and more towards animal husbandry and dairy (high value agriculture); (iii) clearer articulation and definition of the capacity of extension service providers and their quality certification through an autonomous organisation with sufficient legal powers; and (iv) designing and implementing innovation networks through digital platforms to permit free two-way flow of ideas and technologies.
CitationGulati, Ashok; Sharma, Pravesh; Samantara, Anisha; Terway, Prerna. 2018. Agriculture Extension System in India: Review of Current Status, Trends and the Way Forward. © Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations. http://hdl.handle.net/11540/8400.
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