Monday, 10 February 2014

Approval of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the implementation of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) during the 12thPlan period.  
 The extension of NMAET and its components will be expanded and up-scaled appropriately and implemented in a more coordinated and convergent manner.
The Mission will have a total outlay of Rs. 13073.08 crore, with Government of India’s share of Rs. 11390.68 crore and State share of Rs.1682.40 crore.
NMAET consists of 4 Sub Missions:
(i)                 Sub Mission on Agricultural Extension (SMAE)
(ii)               Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP)
(iii)             Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)
(iv)             Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPP)
Agricultural Technology, including the adoption/ promotion of critical inputs, and improved agronomic practices were being disseminated under 17 different schemes of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation during the 11th Plan. 
The Modified Extension Reforms Scheme was introduced in 2010 with the objective of strengthening extension machinery and utilizing it for synergizing interventions under these schemes under the umbrella of the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA).
The NMAET has been envisaged as the next step towards this objective through the amalgamation of these schemes.   The    Mission    Document   has   been   prepared   in   keeping   with   the recommendations of the Working Group of the Planning Commission and suggestions and inputs   received from  extensive  consultation  with stakeholders,  particularly farmers.
 The common threads running across all 4 Sub-Missions in NMAET are Extension and Technology. Therefore, while 4 separate Sub-Missions are being proposed for administrative convenience, these are inextricably linked to each other at the field level and most components thereof have to be disseminated among farmers and other stakeholders through a strong extension network.
The aim of the Mission is to restructure and strengthen agricultural extension to enable delivery of appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices to farmers. 
This is envisaged to be achieved by a judicious mix of extensive physical outreach and interactive methods of information dissemination, use of ICT, popularisation of modern and appropriate technologies, capacity building and institution strengthening to promotemechanisation, availability of quality seeds, plant protection etc. and encourage aggregation of Farmers into Interest Groups (FIGs) to form Farmer ProducerOrganisations (FPOs).
In order to overcome systemic challenges being faced by the Extension System, there is a need for a focused approach in mission mode to disseminate appropriate technologies and relevant information to larger number of farmer households through inter personal and innovative methods of technology dissemination including ICT.
To alleviate the challenges in the seed sector, there is a need to increase production of certified seeds, upgrade quality of farm saved seeds, coverage of at least 10 percent villages under the Seed Village Programme, production of 100 lakh quintals of seeds/year through the Farmers` Seed System, capacity building of the public and private sectors,upgradation of quality control of seeds, upgradation of seed production infrastructure and implementation of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA) Act effectively.
Agricultural productivity has a positive correlation with level of farm mechanization. For accelerated growth in farm mechanization in the current decade, there is a need to include the large community of small and marginal farmers into the fold of cost effective and remunerative mechanized farming, to help sustain desired agricultural growth and to enhance agricultural productivity.
Plant Protection plays a significant role in achieving targets of crop production. Strengthening regulatory framework for management of pesticides and plant quarantine are important issues which are required to be taken up during the 12th Plan also. 
In view of concerns for food safety and impact on India`s food and agricultural trade, there is a need to monitor and analyze pesticide residues in agricultural commodities in different agro-ecological regions of the country.

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