Stage IV. Intensive Agricultural Development Era (1960-on-wards)
Intensive agricultural District Programmer (Package Programmer). Under the Community Development Programmer, the production efforts and the available resources were diffused over the entire country. The educational and extension efforts among the millions of farmers to be tackled remained thin and restricted. By the middle of the Third Five-Year Plan, it became increasingly evident that agricultural development was not making satisfactory progress. As a result of the report of the Ford Foundation team, known as “India’s Food Crisis and Steps to Meet It”, a significant departure took place during the period and a new programmer known as the “Intensive Agricultural District Programmer”, based on the principles of concentration and better management of resources and efforts in potential and responsive areas, with assured water supply, was started in 1960. Since then, at least one district in each state has been covered under this programmer. The scheme not only involves the adoption of a package of new practices, but also ensures the availability of credit and production inputs, adequate research information, training and education of farmers and extension personnel, storage and marketing arrangements and price assurance which would encourage the farmers to adopt scientific methods of farming. Each Intensive Agricultural District Programmer district is the charge of the project officer who is assisted by an assistant project officer, four or five subject-matter specialists and other supporting staff. At the block level, besides a block development officer, there are four agricultural extension officers, two co-operative extension officers and a few officials from other fields. The number of VLWs is 20 in each block. A little later, a similar programmer, but less in intensity and thinner in staffing pattern, was started in 1964. This programmer is known as the “Intensive Agricultural Area Programmer (IAAP).” Now about 10 per cent of the total cultivated area in the country is under the Intensive Agricultural District Programmer and Intensive Agricultural Area Programmer.
High-yielding varieties programmer A new dimension which was created in the community development programmer has been the Agricultural Production Programmer, known as the High-Yielding Varieties Programmer of wheat and paddy and hybrids of maize, sorghum and bajra evolved and introduced in the country since 1965-66. To start with, 100 districts were selected for this purpose, but later on it spread to other areas also. This programmer aimed at covering 13.162 hectares by 1970-71. This significant development has a vital bearing on the increasing of agricultural production and the bumper harvest of over 108 million tonnes of food grains during 1970-71 has clearly shown the impact of this new strategy.
Multiple-cropping programmer Yet another strategy recently introduced in the country is of multiple-cropping which aims at maximizing production per unit of land and per unit of time by taking three or four crops from the same piece of land in a year. This has been made possible because of the new short-duration, high-yielding varieties and improved agricultural technology.
Small Farmer’s development Agency (SFDA). The aims of the SFDA are to identify the problems of the small farmers, to prepare appropriate programmers to overcome them and ensure the availability of inputs and credit. In all, about 50 SFDA projects have been established through out the country under the Fourth Five-Year Plan and Rs.68 crores were allotted for these projects during the Fourth Plan.
Marginal farmers and agricultural laborers projects. The principle objective of this scheme is to assist the marginal cultivators in making the maximum productive use of their small holdings by undertaking horticulture, animal husbandry and dairying. Efforts are also to be directed towards bringing in larger incomes by channeling credits, improved inputs and improved practices. Under this scheme, 41 projects were scheduled to be established throughout the country in the Fourth Five-Year Plan to cover farmers having holdings of not more than one hectare and agricultural laborers having a homestead and earning half or more of their income from agricultural wages. Each Project aimed at covering about 20,000 households during the Fourth Five-Year Plan, of which about two-thirds would be from the marginal farmers and the rest from agricultural laborers.
The integrated area development programmer The foregoing review clearly indicates that most of the programmer for agricultural development have lacked a totality of approach and have been concerned with one or only a few aspects of a given agricultural situation. A recent thinking, therefore, has been going on in the country for sometime and some states and agricultural universities have already taken initiative for the “Integrated Area Development in Agriculture”, which implies planning for given geographic area with respect to all aspects of agricultural development, with a more comprehensive approach, built around krishi vigyan kendras and generating viable rural communities.
Education and training for implementing agricultural strategy. The acceptance of a progressive democratic approach based upon science and technology implied that the extension workers and the farmers in the whole process of change would work as equal partners. The training of extension workers as well as of farmers was, therefore, emphasized from the very beginning of this program and a number of special kinds of institutions, including gram sevaks and gram sevikas training centres, orientation and study training centres, extension wings in the college of agriculture, veterinary and home science, extension educational institutes, national institute or community development, panchayati raj training centres, etc. were started in the country. The principles and concepts of selective areas pattern and intensive agriculture pattern threw a new challenge and an integrated training programme for the farmers, farm women and young farmers has recently been initiated through the country through farmer’s training centres. The agricultural universities and research institutes are also playing a very important role in organising and conducting training programmer for farmers and extension workers.