A Decentralized, Participatory, Market-Driven Extension System: The ATMA Model in India
13 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2012
Date Written: October 10, 2008
This paper outlines the basic concepts, procedures, and results that were achieved by pilot-testing a decentralized, participatory, market-driven extension model into the agricultural extension system of India. The Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) concept was field-tested as part of the National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) that was jointly financed by the government of India and the World Bank from late 1998 through June 2005. Under this project, the ATMA model was introduced into 28 project districts, which directly or indirectly involved about 15 million farm households. Currently, the government of India is attempting to scale up this model to all 588 rural districts in India. As a result of the institutional changes that were successfully implemented under the Innovations for Technology Dissemination component of the NATP, the government of India decided to upscale this new extension model to all 588 rural districts across India. However, to successfully implement this participatory approach in all new ATMA districts, further investments will be necessary to train the district- and block-level extension staff about how to effectively use these different participatory, market-driven methods. At the end of the NATP project, it was decided that extension field staff would need continuing access to unobligated, central government funds if they are to successfully implement this bottom-up, participatory extension approach. To date, however, most central government funds are still obligated to specific program activities that reflect the previous, top-down, technology-driven extension system. If the district- and block-level extension field workers do not have access to unobligated program funds, then further progress in implementing a decentralized, participatory, market-driven extension approach will be very limited.
Keywords: Extension reforms, ATMA, Innovations in technology dissemination
JEL Classification: Q16, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation