National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)
National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)
The rate of productivity in the agricultural sector has always depended on the level of farm mechanisation in a positive manner. To accelerate agricultural productivity and subsequently, enhance farm mechanisation, it is essential that the large community, comprising of small and marginal farmers, are included in the process as well. This would help sustain the desired agricultural progress and boost its productivity. However, first, it is crucial to extend farming services and mechanisation. Therefore, the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. This article talks about NMAET and the various essentials of the same.
The objective of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) is to restructure and further strengthen agricultural extension and thereby, enabling the delivery of appropriate technology and improving agronomic practices to farmers. The Mission is a judicious mix of various elements such as the following in order to form Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Farmers Interest Groups (FIGs):
- Extensive Physical Outreach
- Interactive Methods of Information Dissemination
- Use of Information and Communication Technology
- Popularisation of modern and appropriate technologies
- Capacity building and institution strengthening in order to promote mechanisation
- Availability of quality seeds
- Plant Protection
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) during the 12th Plan Period. Earlier, agricultural technology and practices were split under various schemes of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation. In 2010, the Modified Extension Reforms Scheme was formed to strengthen the agricultural machinery and use the same for various synergising interventions under the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA). The National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) has been formulated as a leap towards this objective through an amalgamation of the following schemes:
- SMAE: Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension
- SMSP: Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material
- SMAM: Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization
- SMPP: Sub-Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine
Even though there are four different sub-missions in the NMAET for administrative convenience, they are interlinked to each other. Extension and technology is the common thread that runs across all these sub-missions. The three most important agricultural inputs are seeds, pesticides and machinery, and they have to distribute to every farmer to various efficient extension machinery.
However, apart from the core component of ensuring the easy availability of these critical inputs at affordable prices, there is a subject-specific capacity-building element included in Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP), Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) and Sub-Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPP). Agricultural extension and technology have to go in close association, and that is the basis of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology.
Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension (SMAE)
Sub-Mission on Agricultural Extension focuses on creating awareness and enhancing the use of appropriate technologies in the agricultural sector and all the allied industries. The profits made in the past will be consolidated and strengthened with the help of increased penetration of extension functionaries. The workforce trained under the Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centres Scheme (ACABC) and Diploma in Agriculture Extension Services for Input Dealers (DAESI) will provide extension services to farmers as well. The use of interactive and innovative processes and methods of conveying information such as pico projectors, low-cost films and Kisan Call Centres will be used under various programmes and schemes at the village level.
Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP)
Adopting quality seeds is the most effective method in terms of costs, and for increasing agricultural production and productivity. The Sub-Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP) includes interventions that will cover the entire concept of seed chain starting from nucleus seed, supply to farmers for sowing, to providing support for infrastructure to form an enabling environment for the development of the agricultural sector. SMSP also aims to strengthen the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority to put an effective system in place for the protection of multiple plant varieties, rights of the farmers and plant-breeders, and to motivate the development of newer variations of plants.
Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)
There is a strong relationship between the availability of farm power and agricultural productivity. Hence, the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation focuses on farm mechanisation. The Mission will specifically cater to the requirements of small and marginal farmers through various institutional arrangements like custom hiring, mechanisation of pre-selected villages, subsidy for the procurement of machines and pieces of equipment, and more.
Sub-Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPP)
Sub-Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPP) is included in the NMAET to increase agricultural production by keeping the crops disease-free with the help of scientific and environment-friendly techniques through the promotion of Integrated Pest Management. Strengthening and Modernisation of Pest Management Approach aim at this vital aspect of Plant Protection and also covers regulatory requirements of pesticides.
This component is regulatory in nature in India in order to prevent the introduction and the spread of exotic pests harmful to crops. This is done by regulating or restricting the import of plants and plant products. Observing pesticide residues in food products and environmental samples are also included in this Sub-Mission. The component on the National Institute of Plant Health Management (NIPHM) will encourage environmentally sustainable plant health management methods in diverse and shifting agro-climatic circumstances, pesticide management, and Biosecurity by capacity building programmes.
Linkages between Sub-Missions
The following are the common factors between the individual sub-mission under the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET).
- The gap in every farmer-centric training and field extension with respect to other sub-missions of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology would also be included in the Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (SREP). SREPs will be documented in coordination with the line departments, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Private Sectors, Farmers and other stakeholders at the district level.
- Funds that are earmarked for such activities under various sub-missions of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology, Missions, Schemes and Programmes will be utilised through the Agricultural Technology Management Agency.
- The workforce under the Agricultural Technology Management Agency will be effectively utilised for the extension related activities under multiple sub-missions.
- Technical, Legal, Administrative and Regulatory functions and other components that are not related to the farmer-centric extension will continue to function independently under the respective sub-missions.