Technological Improvements for Sustainable Agri-Food Systems: The Case of NPM Innovations and Community based Extension Strategy in Andhra Pradesh
Exotica Dreamville Apartments, Greater Noida (West), Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh
Transfer of Technology model of extension has been the dominant paradigm that contributed to national food security through green revolution technologies. But over years, adverse consequences impacted the soil, water and ecosystem. This has been the scenario worldwide, until the arrival of a phenomenal book ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson in 1962, which became the landmark in bringing awareness on ill-effects of synthetic pesticides on environment and agro-ecosystems. Integrated pest management (IPM) was adopted by farmers as a solution, but it did not suffice. Still, a need was felt for further improvement of plant protection technology for growing safe food. Three agricultural scientists, Mohammad A. Qayum, M. S. Chari, and N. K. Sanghi of Sustainable Agriculture Wing of Centre for World Solidarity, a voluntary organization, (later organized into Centre for Sustainable Agriculture-CSA) have integrated indigenous methods to control red hairy caterpillar without using any chemical pesticides. During 1989 to 93 the program covered 18,260 ha in 95 villages across 12 districts of Andhra Pradesh involving 21 voluntary organizations in two phases. Thus evolved a new plant protection technology called Non-pesticidal Management (NPM) of crops. NPM is an approach where in no chemical pesticides are used in cultivating crops. It is a paradigm shift in moving from input centric model to knowledge-based transfer of science model. To promote NPM practices, community based extension strategy was adopted with an administrative framework of NPM Sub-committees of women’s self-help groups & federations, village activists, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), district based NGOs, Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) The success of this CBO oriented extension strategy resulted in scaling up to a Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA) program across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.