The National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) is a programme approved in 2014 under which the government aims to spread farm extension services, mechanization, and other agricultural extension and technology operations.
NMAET is divided into four Sub-Missions:
- Sub Mission on Agricultural Extension (SMAE)
- Sub Mission on Seed and Planting Material (SMSP)
- Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM)
- Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine (SMPP).
The project is carried out by state governments. However, some NMAET components are implemented by the central government also.
- The Mission’s objective is to restructure and develop an agricultural extension to provide farmers with appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices.
- The objective of the Scheme is to make the extension system farmer-driven and farmer-accountable by way of new institutional arrangements for technology dissemination. It aims to restructure and strengthen agricultural extension to enable delivery of appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices to farmers.
- This is expected to be accomplished through a careful combination of extensive physical outreach and interactive methods of information dissemination, use of ICT, popularisation of modern and appropriate technologies, capacity building and institution strengthening to promote mechanisation, availability of quality seeds, plant protection, and so on, as well as encouraging farmers to form Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs).
First, farmers’ lack of awareness and adoption of new agricultural technologies and improved agronomic practices. This might be attributed to a lack of communication and extension services, as well as a reluctance to adapt traditional farming practices.
Second, inadequate infrastructure, particularly in rural regions, makes successful mission execution difficult. Farmers’ access to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure is limited, making it difficult to disseminate agricultural knowledge and technology.
Third, affordability and accessibility of agricultural mechanisation services, quality seeds, and plant protection measures might be difficult, especially for small and marginal farmers. Farmers may be hesitant to use these resources due to their scarcity and high cost.
Fourth, improving the institutional capacity of extension agencies and agricultural institutions is critical to the mission’s success. Inadequate human resources, training, and capacity-building activities, on the other hand, might hinder the effective execution of extension services.
Fifth, ensuring the mission’s initiatives’ sustainability and scalability is a big task. To ensure that the mission’s actions continue to assist farmers in the long run, long-term funding and support, as well as appropriate monitoring and evaluation systems, are essential.
Sixth, climate change and environmental issues, such as shifting weather patterns, water scarcity, and pest and disease outbreaks, can all have a significant impact on agricultural productivity. It is critical for the mission’s success to adapt agricultural extension services and technologies to address these difficulties.
- Improving extension services through capacity-building programmes for extension workers and farmers can increase their knowledge and abilities. Training workshops, field demonstrations, and farmer-to-farmer information exchange programmes can help achieve this.
- Investing in infrastructure development, such as rural connection, ICT facilities, and custom hiring centres for agricultural mechanisation, will help farmers get access and affordability. Public-private partnerships and government initiatives can help with this.
- It is critical to ensure the availability and accessibility of quality seeds, fertilisers, and plant protection measures. This can be accomplished by establishing seed banks, encouraging seed production programmes, and making affordable inputs more accessible through government subsidies and assistance.
- Giving accurate weather forecasts, market data, and best agronomic practices using various communication channels, including mobile technologies, internet platforms, and community radio, can improve agricultural information transmission to farmers.
- Fostering climate-smart agricultural practices that are resistant to climate change and environmental problems can assist farmers in adapting to changing conditions. Promoting conservation agriculture, water-efficient irrigation systems, and integrated pest management practices are examples of such initiatives.
- It is critical to implement comprehensive monitoring and evaluation methods to measure the impact and efficacy of extension services and technology uptake. This feedback loop can help discover areas for improvement and ensure accountability.