Agriclinics and Agribusiness Centers
With 103 million farm families having 165 million ha holdings that are spread over in more than 600,000 villages in 598 rural districts of the country and 1:2000 extension agent-farmer ratio characterizes the extension system prevalent in India. On the other hand the demand for paid extension system is also growing as is evident from the study that indicates 76.5 per cent farmers favouring paid extension services. Further another study reveals that agricultural input dealers are major source of technological information for the farmers among the 22 other sources surveyed by the NSSO in India. The type of technical information sought by farmers in Maharashtra also is very explicit and encouraging for private extension service providers to take advantage of this situation. It indicates that about 53.6 per cent farmers favour for paid services for in-field extension advisory and 22.6 farmers favoured for paid services for accessing plant protection advisory. The demand for such paid services is estimated to be higher in fruit crops, vegetable and floriculture crops.
With this background the Ministry of Agriculture proposed a scheme for establishment of private extension service providers through an innovative model that was named as Agriclinics and Agribusiness Centres’ (ACABC) Scheme and was initiated in 2002. The scheme was implemented primarily to boost the efforts of public extension system by bringing in the agribusiness ventures established by successful agripreneur under the ACABC scheme to provide extension support services in the areas of their chosen agribusiness venture. The scheme started with support of Ministry of Agriculture with assistance of National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) as the national coordinating institution for imparting training and NABARD as the implementing agency for extending the credit based subsidy.
Objective of Scheme
? To supplement the efforts of Government extension system.
? To make available supplementary sources of input supply and services to needy farmers.
? To provide gainful employment to agriculture graduates in new emerging areas in agricultural sector.
The scheme provides a mandatory two months training for agrigraduates and agri diploma holders and further has been revised to include agribased vocational course at intermediate level as minimum eligibility. After the successful completion of the mandatory training the trainees have to submit the agribusiness project proposal for bank finance for which a composite subsidy amounting to 36 per cent for open candidates and 44 per cent for SC/ST and women candidates is extended by NABARD to the agripreneur through the financing bank.
Krishi Vigyan Kendra Babhaleshwar as NTI
Krishi Vigyan Kendra(KVK) Babhaleshwar has given major emphasis on vocational training for self employment generation since its inception. With the help of these successful trainees, KVK has been able to establish a strong network of agricultural service providers. After the start of ACABC scheme, KVK applied for becoming and eligible NTI and was immediately accorded approval as a designated NTIs during 2004. Today this NTI is not only providing training to the agrigraduates and agri diploma holders and functioning as a formidable agri entrepreneurship center, but also facilitating a strong network of ACABC centers through which maximum services are being provided to the farming community. Therefore the center has emphasized on providing quality oriented training through limited training courses per year instead of training in large numbers. Due to concerted efforts, the KVK has been able to achieve maximum success rate within Maharashtra and also at national level
The success rate of various NTIs in Maharashtra is satisfactory as compared to the same in NTIs of other states. The success rate of five NTIs in the state is above the national average of 61.70 per cent. KVK, Babhaleshwar is leading in the state of Maharashtra in terms of per cent wise success rate. The KVKs have a mandate to replicate the technology through extension functionaries of various line departments within the district. The KVK has trained 463 trainees so far and out of which there are 372 trainees trained from Ahmednagar district and 233 trainees have established agribusiness ventures in the district. The successful trainees are involved in group based activities and are implementing several extension programmes in association with KVK. This includes availing various input supply services by these successful trainees to the farmers. Similarly they are also availing the disease diagnostic services of KVK for recommending various disease control measures in major crops grown in their blocks. Other technologies that are being adopted by them is conducting joint soil test diagnostic services. The successful trainees have become extension service providers in their respective tehsils who have direct coordination with block level agriculture officers in initiating various Govt schemes like micro-irrigation scheme, protected cultivation under shadenet house and polyhouses and other schemes as per the demand in the area.
There are 83 trainees who have been disbursed with bank loan by various banks. The successful trainees have been disbursed Rs 572.83 lakhs worth of bank loans. Most of the successful trainees are functioning as business facilitators for the bank either officially or unofficially. Through these ACABC centers large numbers of farmers are being benefitted through various advisory and consultancy services. This shows a marked impact of this scheme in meeting the slated objectives of Govt of India. The agriclinics and input supply centers are serving a maximum number of farmers followed by biopesticides, organic manure and vermicompost units, Dairy framing Poultry farming, Polyhouse services, Vegetable seedlings nursery.
ACABC BATCH IN KRISHI VIGYAN KENDRA BABHALESHWAR