Thursday, May 08, 2008

Privatization in Agricultural Extension: A Paradigm Shift in the Policy Perspectives

Private Agricultural extension is gaining prominence in the recent times. This context in agricultural production is getting thrust because of the emerging trends of globalization. The implications of the WTO poise to set the focus on product quality, techno economically feasible cost of production, post harvest value addition, market led extension and cyber applications. These parameters promote the paradigm shift in the policy perspectives. To meet the demands of the emerging global scenario of the food security, the production trends need to be harmonized. The broad global macro economic scenario depicts that higher the expense on food is lesser the prosperity or increased poverty.

The need for the harmonious production pushes the extension service providers as the predominant economic stake holders in food and agricultural production.

Governments across the world have their policies for a sustainable production. As MANAGE puts it, Inability of the Public Extension to reach the farmers effectively makes space for private participation in agricultural extension. The following info from MANAGE draws keen interest.

The extension worker: farmer ratio is very wide in India (1: 1000). The ratio further widens due to

1. At least, 25 percent of extension workers are administrations /

Supervisors and they are not directly in touch with farmers.

2. With remaining extension workers, at least 50 percent of the time is spent in administrative work, official correspondence, reports and Traveling

3. Excluding the leave period, holidays, an extension worker in government sector need attends office for about 250 days in a year.

When we stand on the fact that agricultural extension professionals are the effective stake holders in food and agricultural production, the info above is disturbing. The widening gap between the farmer and agricultural extension services from the governmental organizations provides niche for the role of private or self employed agricultural extension practitioners.

Ref: MANAGE Resources

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