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Taking agropedia forward – extensionpedia as a possible milestone

Taking agropedia forward – extensionpedia as a possible milestone

It has been over 10,000 years that people are engaged in agriculture. Farmers keep inventing new agricultural techniques with time so that the farming process becomes easier and/or more productive. To increase the agricultural productivity, profitability and to make the system sustainable it is necessary to communicate with the other farmers and exchange ideas. Farmers have continually adapted new technologies, assessed the results, and shared their experience with other members of the community in the form of verbal explanations and practical demonstrations. Some information took a more durable form as soon as systems of writing were developed. Farmer’s ability to innovate is correlated with a vast knowledge base and advanced information services. To make the farmers aware of the latest agricultural developments it is necessary to disseminate information about new technologies. Farmers are the end-users and most of the times it is shown that there is a huge gap between research findings and farmers demand. A technology is of no use unless it is being adopted by the end users and this kind of things happens only because of the communication gap.

Only Agricultural Extension services can reduce this communication gap. Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. This services helps the farmers in solving the problems and gives advice on opportunities in agricultural production, how to conserve and market the produce. The most important part of it is it transfers new technologies to farmers and also addresses the public issues like resource conservation, health and food security monitoring, agricultural production monitoring, food safety, nutrition and family education, and youth development.
Understanding the problems of the farmers and need of the Agricultural Extension Services, team agropedia led by Dr. T.V.Prabhakar is conceptualizing a new platform for the farmers or extension workers through a new website named khetikipothi or extensionpedia.

Extensionpedia is not an interactive site, it can be updated by experts but farmers can only read and make copies. The content of this website is supposed to be focused on what farmers need and can use. The content types are Documents, Images, Voice clips, and Movies. Content is of the nature of photographs of common pests, documents related agriculture practices, short movie clips, audio descriptions of what and how

Extensionpedia content is a proper subset of agropedia.  It will automatically get into agropedia, which can continue to run and accumulate content in the background. It is just a repository addressing the needs of a single stakeholder.

We think it would be a great help to the farmers. Along with the voice messages they already receive, now they can watch video clips, images, movies related to new agricultural technologies and farming processes. If something comes in a displayed manner or in a picture form it can create a stronger impact. The idea of extensionpedia can serve the purpose of the Agricultural Extension Services in a better way by making farmer aware of the new innovations in agricultural field, and encourage him to innovate and share his results with the KVK experts, so that it is shared across farmers through extensionpedia.

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Set of comments given by Rahul Goswami

 

  • "To increase the agricultural productivity, profitability and to make the system sustainable it is necessary to communicate with the other farmers and exchange ideas." Productivity, profitability and sustainability. These are tricky terms. They mean very different things to different people - to government, to crop scientists, to economists, to agri-businesses. What do they mean to us? You don't have to include this examination here, but it's useful to keep the distinctions at hand. 
  • "Farmers have continually adapted new technologies, assessed the results, and shared their experience with other members of the community in the form of verbal explanations and practical demonstrations" And that is why farmers are their own teachers. There are no other teachers for farmers. Crop scientists are not, government is not, agri research institutes are not. Have no illusions and entertain no other views - none of these are. Crop scientists are especially destructive - and if there is one lesson you take away from your time with Agropedia, it is to understand that these structures have come close to ruining our kisaans. "Farmer's ability to innovate is correlated with a vast knowledge base and advanced information services." Only half correct. Advanced information services (like Agropedia) are useful only if - and only as long as - they evolve from farmers and community. 
  • "To make the farmers aware of the latest agricultural developments it is necessary to disseminate information about new technologies. Farmers are the end-users and most of the times it is shown that there is a huge gap between research findings and farmers demand." Farmers are NOT end users! Throw out any learning or any education that has told you so. ICAR is an end-user. Agricultural colleges are end users. Agriculture business are end users. Kisaans are providers, kisaan households are providers. Farmers are manipulated into making demands that India's national agricultural research system is supposed to fulfil. This does not mean those demands are legitimate for a farming community, a cultivating community - do you follow the difference? 
  • Misinformed techno-political demands made by farmers that are used to legitimise the programmes of our national agricultural research system is not "science" and is not "krishi vikas". There is only one kind of knowledge - not two kinds. 

 

Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.