These co-ops. will be used to disburse information on agriculture

The proposal by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, to use the 12,000-odd grassroots-level milk producers’ co-operative societies in the State as platforms to disburse information and advisories on agriculture and weather has caught the attention of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

The ICAR has agreed in-principle to take up the project at the national-level.

The UAS had convinced the State government to implement the project on a pilot basis after an assessment showed that milk co-operatives were the best platforms to disburse area-specific agricultural extension information.

This was because each dairy farmer made two visits a day to these societies to supply milk and spent a minimum of 10 minutes each visit.

In two districts

The UAS is in the process of making preparations to launch the pilot project in two districts. The ICAR took note of the project at a conference of Vice-Chancellors of agricultural universities at Delhi on Monday and expressed its willingness to take up the project at the national-level, according to UAS Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda.

Further discussions on the project will be held at Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday during the southern regional meeting of ICAR institutions.

Krishi Vigyan Kendras

Under the project, district-level Krishi Vigyan Kendras will act as coordinating agencies as they would decide the area-specific information to be displayed at the milk co-operatives in addition to preparing the display matter.

Dr. Gowda said that various assessments had indicated that the KVKs were able to make agri-extension activities reach only 10 per cent of the farmers in their jurisdiction in a year.

This would mean that it would take about 10 years for them to reach out to all the farmers. But it was possible to cover all the farmers within a year through the milk co-operatives as their jurisdiction was smaller, he noted.

At present, the country has 1.6 lakh milk co-operatives and each co-operative covers an average of three villages.

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