Bhubaneswar:17/2/23: In a bid to enhance agricultural productivity and support the farmers in Odisha, the state government has been implementing various extension services. However, with the changing times, there is an opportunity for private players to invest in extension services in the command area.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for a significant portion of the population in Odisha, and the command area refers to the region under irrigation from a particular water source. There are several command areas in Odisha, including the Hirakud Dam, which is one of the largest dams in India.
Chairing a seminar on ‘Private Led Extension in command area, Opportunities in Odisha’ on Day 2 of Krushi Odisha 2023, Director Agriculture & Food Production, Prem Chandra Chaudhary, emphasized that extension service is key to improving income and productivity of farmers. He also stated that approaches from the private sector are proving to be key in solving the challenges faced by the existing extension models.
Director General, MANAGE, Dr. P Chandrasekhar informed that 2500 input dealers in Odisha have been trained as para-extension workers, and 500 are undergoing training under the Diploma in Agricultural Extension Services for Input Dealers (DAESI). He further informed about free residential training on Agri-entrepreneurship for professionalizing Agricultural extension under the Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centres (ACABC) Scheme. As of now, 645 professionals in Odisha have been trained, and 115 Agri-ventures established
Director, Grant Thornton Bharat, Karan Sharma, during his talk informed that they are working on identified value chains in four districts of Odisha with the objective of increasing the income of women producers through Local Economic Development. A total of 27,000 women farmers are expected to benefit from this initiative.
Dr. Shivam Sharma from Absolute highlighted the key features of Upaj, the world’s first AgCloud ecosystem. It uses AI and Machine Learning to provide solutions for agricultural practices, which helps farmers grow better while optimizing sustainability and productivity.
Vinnay Jaju from SwitchOn Foundation highlighted the status of agriculture and its vulnerability in Odisha, and the state’s agricultural contribution in the country. He emphasized the use of solar power and highlighted on farm mechanization powered by Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE).
During the seminar the Krushi Bibhag introduced the newly developed artificial-intelligence driven ChatBot-Ama KrushAI. This smart Chatbot has been trained to provide personalized advisory services to farmers in Odisha. Krushi Bibhag is planning to launch it for use by millions of farmers in the state.