CRISP partnered with FICCI and the Syngenta Foundation of India in organising this workshop. Dr Marco Ferroni, Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) made a key note presentation focussing on “Market Led Extension in Vegetables in India” Click here to download the powerpoint slides. Mr. S Sivakumar, Group Head, ITC-Agribusiness,; Dr W R Reddy, IAS, Secretary & Director, Sagar Group of Institutions; Dr. M S Rao, Specialist, Markets, Research and Innovation, ICRISAT; and Dr Rasheed Sulaiman V Director, CRISP participated in the panel discussion that followed this presentation. The book “Transforming Indian Agriculture-India 2040” edited by Dr Marco Ferroni was also released at this workshop.
The meeting discussed the complexities involved in linking farmers to markets (more complex than rocket science) through market led extension especially the need for knowledge intermediation, continued presence of field staff and handholding support; development of capacities related to mobilization, facilitation and negotiation among extension staff; and enhanced public funding to promote market led extension. Extension related to markets and prices has not been a priority for extension in the past. However this is no longer acceptable. Though India has a lot of experiences on market led extension, many of these experiences are of small scale and are scattered across and there hasn’t been enough of synthesis and lesson learning from these experiences. Though the Government has been trying to mobilize farmers as farmer interest groups (FIGs) through ATMA (Agricultural Technology Management Agency) , lack of financial and human capacities to handhold FIGs constrain this important activity. A lot more needs to be done by way of investments, capacities and learning if market led extension which is critical for addressing issues of food and nutritional security has to result in wider impact.