Survey on reach of agropedia services among both the stakeholders: farmers and KVK experts @Kannauj & Bareilly from 12th to 15th March,2012
During the first phase of in-depth data collection, IIMC social science team along with IIT K team visited KVK Kannauj 12th-13th March 2012 and KVK Bareilly on 14th -15th March 2012
Kannauj (12th-13th March)
Kannauj KVK falls under the purview of C.S. Azad University of Agriculture & Technology, Kanpur. VSat connectivity is not present there.
On the 12th the team had interactions with 4 KVK scientists from Kannauj including the Program Coordinator in a nearby village: Rampur at the ongoing workshop of National Horticulture Mission.
Interaction with KVK experts @ Kannauj
The following observations were noted after administering questionnaire and informal discussion with the experts:-
- The KVK setup was only a month old so it wasn't at all in full swing during the time of visit.
- Electricity is a major problem as it remains only 12hrs a day at alternate times on weekly basis. Problem of low voltage is also persistent.
- Multiple official engagements of KVK scientists impede KVK functionalities.
- As per the PC- KVKs are inadequately staffed.
- From KVK Kannauj only voice messages are sent, prior to the visit hardly 2-3 voice messages were sent to the farmers. They favoured voice messages among the vKVK services as it helps in remaining in close contact with the farmers.
- Online reporting is physically done by computer programmer while the KVK experts perform the underlying mental and verbal activity.
- Main crop in the region is potato, paddy, and wheat. Previously sunflower was cultivated but at presents due to rise in cost of cultivation and fall in market rates it has fallen.
- Farmers prefer to sell their produce to the local traders instead of going to the Mandis as the later involves cumbersome procedure.
Farmers @ KVK Kannauj
On 13th March 2012 the IIMC team had interaction with the farmers. The respondents were very expressive. They came forward with various issues,
- Double burden of cost: the farmers reported their previous year experience regarding potato production which is the chief crop of the area. They had to bear both the cost of cultivation as well as the cold storage charges. Yet due to lack of buyers the cold storage ran out of capacity and during November last year 50% of the total produce was wasted. This is absolutely in parity with the All India scenario.
- No "body" to address their grievances: They reported how from seed to fertilisers everything is available in the adulterated version. Yet on complaining no proper steps are taken instead the mal practitioners are informed a priori about raids.
- Presence of middlemen is predominant.
- Willingness to pay: when asked about their WTP for the service their furry was hard to control they replied back saying if returns from crops are ensured, they are willing to pay in the range of RS.15- 30 for the advisory! Majority is unwilling to pay for this service at present.
- Reuters Market Light is one of the private players operating in this region.
- They receive price related information mainly from newspaper, middlemen; KVKs don't give any information in this regard.
- Financial institutions present in this area are State Bank of India, Regional Rural Bank and cooperative Bank. Farmers receive inadequate amount of loans from these institutions.
- The respondents revealed their state of extreme exploitation by explaining how food imports and other government policies are hurting them.
19 respondents attended the session among them 64% were registered. It is noted that frequent change of mobile numbers by farmers is obstructing the reach of agropedia services. KVK scientists & farmers mainly keep in touch with each other through direct pone calls.
Farmers & KVK experts @ KVK Bareilly
The team met 7 KVK Scientists during their visit to KVK Bareilly. They started using vKVK services only a month before the visit but no formal training was given about features of agropedia till the date of survey. This KVK falls under the purview of Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar- Bareilly
At the KVK 24hrs power supply is available. VSat connectivity is unavailable. The problem of poor internet connectivity and insufficient numbers of computers is present. Information Kiosks are available only for animal husbandry related information at IVRI.
- Most of the KVK experts rated voice messages above SMS on the basis of following dimensions: easy usability, prevailing illiteracy among farmers. They were enthusiastic regarding the vKVK services as it helps in mitigate the knowledge gaps by providing state of the art techniques.
- At KVK Bareilly time to time various training program are conducted on:-
Crops, animal husbandry, mushroom cultivation, vermicomposting, bee keeping, pisciculture, horticulture.
- They organise Front Line Demonstration, distribute seed, fertiliser and bio-fertilisers. The mode of communication involved is postcards sent
15-20 days before the program.
- KVK experts also train educated youth which is instrumental in spreading awareness and generates occupation opportunities in the form of opening up agri- clinic.
- Each KVK experts disseminate information as per their discipline and coverage of topics ranges from animal health, dairy farming, goatery, milk production, vaccination of animals, plant protection, pest and disease control, sowing time, seed, fertilisers, soil testing to Self Help Groups. They also spread knowledge about alternative livelihood options like-low cost recipes, tailoring, kitchen gardening etc. Information about nutritional program and related schemes are also spread by the KVK experts.
- Though some experts feel all information should reach every farmer as that help in broadening their choice set & reduces bottlenecks in switching over due to informational asymmetry. Others opined in favour of discipline wise classification of farmers for proper targeting.
- KVKs actively participate in forming Kisan gosthi(s) and link them with the banks in order to facilitate access to credit. Though the state of credit is grim as hardly 10-15% of credits rolls on since most of it is consumed for household activities instead of deploying the same for productive purposes.
- KVK experts suggested following modes of information dissemination like TV, Radio, Newspaper, interactive sessions, workshops, seminars, KVK newsletters and Kisan gosthi.
At KVK Bareilly the respondents hailed from diverse background. We had the opportunity to interact with a beekeeping and vermicomposting practitioners also. They raised various issues.
- The farmers explained how crop cycle comprising of wheat, sugarcane and paddy is resulting in soil nutrient erosion yet it is practised due to lesser risk involvement.
- According to the apiculturist, Indian ICTs spread information about foreign bee keeping techniques which is not feasible to practise in Indian context. At times the alternative modes of communication like radios fails to spread comprehensive knowledge about the same.
- Information demand comprises of the following topics: price related, seed & fertiliser distribution, training and Kisan mela.
- The respondents expressed how government schemes like MNREGA are augmenting labour cost and translating into miseries for them. One of them came forward with an innovative suggestion, according to him if the government can motivate this huge labour pool under employment guarantee schemes to work as agriculture labourer along with rural infrastructure development it will be blissful for the Indian agrarian sector.
- The existences of black marketing in the context of inputs pose a big challenge for the farmers in procuring right type of inputs.
- The team interacted with a vermicomposting expert Mr. Nihal Singh, his area of interest mainly constitutes of medicinal plants which have high export demand. He feels KVKs should undertake some steps to promote organic farming keeping in mind the health of ecosystem services.
Mr. Singh expressed his information need for pure bred seed from the KVK as hybrid seed results in genetic disorder.
- Farmer's willingness to pay for this service is conditional. Though half of them are unwilling to pay for the service.
Only 6 respondents appeared for the session and all of them were registered. Though there is 145 registered farmers enlisted there is repetition of more than 20% farmer's names, presence of landline numbers & 20 missing phone numbers in the list. Since the experts started using the service recently they didn't encounter any phone number change related problem.