The spread of farm extension services and mechanisation will get a fillip with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approving the implementation of the National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET) for the 12th Plan Period.

NMAET, which aims to restructure and strengthen the agricultural extension to enable the delivery of appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices to farmers, will have an outlay of Rs.13,073.08 crore during the 12th Plan Period. The Centre’s share in NMAET will be Rs. 11,390.68 crore, while the States are expected to spend Rs. 1,682.40 crore.

NMAET would consist of four separate sub-missions – one each on Agriculture Extension, Seed and Planting Material, Agricultural Mechanisation, Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine. While the common thread that runs across all four sub-missions were extension and technology, the four sub-missions are proposed for administrative convenience.

NMAET proposes to strength the agricultural extension through the use of judicious mix of extensive physical outreach and interactive methods of information dissemination and information and communication technology.

It also aims to popularise modern and appropriate technologies and focus on capacity building and institution strengthening to promote mechanisation, availability of quality seeds, plant protection etc and encourage aggregation of farmers into interest groups to form farmer producer organisations.

(This article was published on February 5, 2014)