Extension Reforms and Innovations in Technology Dissemination – The ATMA Model in India
23 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2012
Date Written: October 30, 2012
Decentralizing a large, complex national extension system is not easy, but the Government of India appears to be moving toward this long-term goal. Although ATMA model has been successful in addressing many of the extension problems and has shown exceptional impacts during the NATP phase but it seems to be going the T&V way. It is therefore, imperative that in the country like India, which has a vast territory and extremely diverse socio-economic and agro-climatic situations, ATMA model should be introduced and implemented with utter cautious. Different ATMAs should be empowered with sufficient administrative, financial and implementation flexibilities to address the basic problems in their operational jurisdiction.
The use of FIGs to mobilize men, women, and young people around common interests, such as the production of flowers, fruits, vegetables, milk, fish and other high-value products, has energized both the farming community and the extension staff. Many FIGs have joined to form farmer associations or federations that can gain economies of scale in serving larger markets. Developing strong farmer organizations is a positive and necessary step in providing cost-effective extension services that will increase the income and employment of small-scale and marginal farm households. The block-level FACs are operational in most project blocks, but rural women and other disadvantaged groups still need more representation. Internal conflicts continue between priorities set by the ATMA Governing Boards and the heads of the line departments in allocating central government resources. The BTTs are still learning how to work together in utilizing a farming systems approach with multiple funding sources.
There is no doubt that something that resembles a 21st centre vision of agricultural extension is needed and this means substantial reforms in public policies and services. Adding urgency to this is the ever-increasing complexity of agricultural sector development and the sector’s acknowledged role in poverty reduction. Of course, it is all too easy to criticise new approaches, such as ATMA. It is also important to realise that in a country like India and, indeed, elsewhere, administrative traditions and realities place limits on what is possible and politically feasible even as a pilot. But the challenge remains of how to break out of this best practice to best fit impasse.
Keywords: extension reforms, ATMA model, innovations
JEL Classification: Q16, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation