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FRONT-LINE DEMONSTRATION : AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION APPROACH FOR DISSEMINATION OF SUSTAINABLE COTTON PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
Wasnik SM, Deshmukh RK and Meshram MK
Cotton is one of the most important cash, commercial and fiber crop of the country, occupy an area of about 8.5 million hectares. The productivity of the crop is lowest in Vidarbha as well as in the state of Maharashtra (173 kg lint/ha) as compared to National (299kg lint/ha) and world (585 kg lint/ha) average. Looking into the maximum yields obtained at progressive farmer's fields in Central, North, & South zones, it is possible to double the average yield with the existing cotton technologies. In this direction ICAR has introduced the average yield with the existing cotton technologies. In this direction ICAR has introduced project during 1995 for guiding the state extension functionaries, cotton growers & other extension agencies involved in transfer of cotton production technology. This is the unique programme since the scientists are directly involved in conducting demonstrations. This also enables scientists to have first hand information. With a view to communicate cotton production technology widely & for realizing the yields of farmers, around 800 cotton front-line demonstrations of new technologies are laid out directly on farmers field every year through All India Cotton Coordinated Improvement Project (AICCIP) of Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur with its network of SAUs & other agencies in all the three different cotton growing zones of the country.
The study conducted at Maharashtra & Haryana states with 148 randomly selected cotton growers under coordinating centers CICR Nagpur & CICR Regional Station Sirsa for assessing impact of FLD communication approach on knowledge, adoption, yield levels & consultancy patterns, revealed that the cotton FLD did make a significant impact on demonstrating farmers and surrounding farmers. The influence of cotton FLD on knowledge & adoption levels of recommended technologies was significant on both FLD & Non-FLD farmers. The mean overall extent of adoption of FLD growers was 55.28 and 56.42 percent respectively at Sirsa & Nagpur centers and that of non-FLD growers it was 42.25 & 42.18 percent respectively. The influence of FLD with respect to yield levels was although greater among FLD farmers but other farmers also gained through the programme as the yield of non-FLD farmers was also more compared to district average in both Nagpur & Sirsa. The highest increase in level of adoption was observed in improved varieties/ hybrids followed by plant protection and irrigation management in Sirsa irrigated zone while timely sowing followed by plant protection, intercultural operations, seed rate & picking in Nagpur rainfed zone. It helped in creating confidence in the cotton growers, which resulted in increase in knowledge, adoption and change in attitude of farmers. Thus communication through FLD has a very important role in dissemination of sustainable cotton production technology.
As regards consultancy patterns of other farmers in improved cotton cultivation practices like seed rate, improved varieties/hybrids, FYM/compost applications, use of fertilizers and plant protection measures, the FLD farmers are found as primary source of information. This implies that cotton Front-Line Demonstration approach has played a significant role in dissemination of sustainable cotton production technology effectively to other farmers also.