G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, UK
Agricultural Extension Services and Community Outreach play an important role in disseminating new knowledge and technologies to farmers. Scenario around the world reflects that governments and international development agencies have made large investments in resources for building up agricultural extension systems. Worldwide, the agricultural extension system has been instrumental for different countries in attaining food security, enhancing agricultural productivity, improving the livelihood of rural communities, and in the overall development of nations. The extension services are also provided by Progressive/Innovative/Entrepreneur Farmers, Farmer Organizations, Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Common Interest Groups (CIGs), Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs), Farmer Cooperatives (Primary Agricultural Cooperatives (PACs) /Commodity Cooperatives etc. Farmer groups are now being recognized as essential institutions for the welfare and advancement of agriculture, rural livelihood, and rural economy. Despite the substantial increase in the production scenario of agriculture and allied sectors, there are certain critical concerns, like sliding down Gross value added (GVA) by farm sectors, shrinking landholdings and natural resource base, the challenge of ensuring sustainable food and nutritional security, sustainability issue of rainfed farming due to climate change, sporadic agricultural distress, and ensuring the efficacy of programme delivery and extension systems, which need to be addressed to enhance the performance of farm sector in India. Social dynamics play an important role in determining the performance of the extension services. In a given situation, you may have technologies, schemes and programmes, and investments too. However, in the absence of collaboration between the stakeholders and streamlined and reformed extension services, the programme delivery to the targeted clientele may not go efficiently, and the development efforts would still be inadequate to produce desired impacts. Thus, the study suggests strengthening the pillars of extension services for addressing resource management issues and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).