Agricultural Diversification and
Role of ATMA in Bihar
State Agricultural Management and Extension Training
Presentation in the Global Meet for a Resurgent Bihar,
19-21 February 2007,
Hotel Maurya, Patna, India
• Post independence, single minded focus on removing
shortages and self reliance for basic cereal crops
• Research system served this purpose by delivering dramatic
productivity increases by introduction of new varieties and use
of chemicals for nutrition and protection
• Training & Visit (T&V) Extension system successfully managed
technology transfer to the farmers
• It was believed that ―Market Forces‖ could not adequately
address the needs of both farmers and consumers. Regulatory
framework was designed to circumvent the market
Historical Technology Dissemination Model
• No market risk for the farmer – Support price system
• Firm contract with the government
• Neither the research system nor the farmer required any connect with the consumer
and its demands.
ICAR R&D system &
Farmer Mandis Aggregators
Burdened with this baggage of historical success - search for the new paradigm
Why the need for the new paradigm?
Falling trend growth rate of agriculture.
Productivity increases are not keeping pace with the rising
Falling water tables & rising soil salinity.
Soil degradation due to intensive chemical usage.
Piling food grain stocks and increased dependence on oil
seed & oil imports.
R&D system should deliver the "increased income
aspirations‖ of the farmers.
India’s factor price advantage & diverse agro-climatic
conditions, not leveraged to become a player in the
Domestic International Market
Inadequate information with farmers to plan production– Little or no linkages
with the market
Research system with limited connect with the market
Public actions focused on crisis resolution, not at systemic solution
Private sector focus on articulating problem only a few initiatives to show for.
Ploughing ahead …..times have changed
Myths about Agricultural Research & Extension
R&D System is not delivering
Extension system has collapsed
Need for increased role for private sector
Farmers are not willing to change
State Government are not responsive
However the Reality is
R&D system has the knowledge base but lacks means of transfer to the farm
Farmer is willing to change, can take technology risk provided he is
insulated from the market risk.
No public support for new initiative leading to collapse of the T&V extension
Few Private sector players operating in limited pockets at best equipped to
play the role of facilitators – NOT YET READY TO LEAD.
Some aggressive state agendas neutralized by inertia in other states.
Framework for Crafting the Research Agenda
R&D agenda should be driven by market demand. Links with the Private
sector can fill in this gap.
Benchmark with the best in the world
Identify regions and crops where we can be better than the best
Evaluate nationally & globally available varieties to select candidates for
Adopt and develop package of practices which are locally relevant and
within the resource base of the farmer
Maintain focus on optimizing water usage and rationalized chemical inputs
to build sustainability
Public and private partnership with input companies on the basic research
“Redefine research agenda to be in-tune with market demand & leverage India’s
resource base on a sustainable format.”
Only TECHNOLOGY which delivers HIGHER INCOMES for the farmers will SUCCEED!
A Possible Roadmap
Leverage Bihar’s diverse and favourable agro climatic conditions to create:
“Specialized” “Regional” production centers :
Only way of maintaining competitiveness in a world focused on SPECIALIZATION!
Farmer’s CapabilityWater availability
Technology Transfer Enablers
Evaluation of promising varieties and hybrids- short listing selection
Blueprint for agricultural practices after adapting to local conditions,
to suit intellectual & financial means of the farmer
Multi locational trials including at farmers’ fields
Evaluation of farmer economics model
The extension services team - selection and training
Farmer education program
R & D Activities
Ensure market and predictable pricing
Timing the harvest to optimize the returns
Post harvest management to ensure quality
Prompt farmer payment system
Ensure ―adequate financing‖ to fund the inputs
What should be the pattern of engagement ?
It has been seen elsewhere that successful commercialization
of technology works because there is a demand.
As yet, no established demand for Agricultural technology by
the private sector.
―Public- Private Partnerships‖ rather than pure ―Commercial
engagements‖ need to be developed.
Involve private sector in drawing up specific work plan of
Leverage both public & private sector resources for reaching
out to the farmer
Government market interventions to support new technologies
Challenges before Extension System
To respond to food and nutritional security, poverty
alleviation, diversifying market demand, export opportunities
Effective linkages between production and agro-processing for
value added products
Sustainable management of natural resources – land and water
Public funding in extension is under considerable strain, getting
private funds need of the hour.
Extension programs heavily top-down:
Extension field staff, primarily handing out central
government funded inputs and subsidies, rather than
assisting farmers to increase their incomes
By focusing on staple food crops, extension is mostly
supply–driven rather than being demand– driven or
Lack of attention to farmer problems; extension system
not accountable to farmers
Inadequate technical & managerial capacity, especially
among the field-level extension staff posted in the
districts and blocks
Absence of any mechanisms to empower farmers
Weak involvement with the private sector
Weak R-E-F-M linkages
Key Elements of the New Strategy
Shift from food security (i.e., Green Revolution) to
diversifying into high-value products
India had become self-sufficient in basic food crops
Growing domestic market for high-value products;
dairy, eggs, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, etc.
To implement this new strategy, farmers had to be
organized, trained and linked to these new
domestic and international markets
Implementing organization pilot tested under
NATP was the Agricultural Technology
Management Agency or ―ATMA‖
(In Hindi, ATMA mean “soul;” therefore ATMA has become the soul of
agricultural development in India and Bihar.)
ATMA was the Mechanism Used to
Decentralize Extension and Diversify
Which is Critical to Building a “Market-Driven” Extension System
Regional and urban market opportunities tend to be
―location-specific;‖ therefore, extension planning
must be ―bottom-up!‖
The ATMA model pilot-tested between 1998-2005;
now the Government of India is implementing this
―market-driven‖ extension or ATMA model
nationwide in 252 districts and it may be up scaled
to cover the whole country in the XIth Plan.
Steps in Implementing the Strategy
Conduct PRA and then develop a Strategic Research
and Extension Plan (SREP) for each Project District
Identify and evaluate ―Success Stories‖
Determine most promising products/markets
Organize farmers into groups
Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) at village level & Farmer
Associations (FAs) at block, district & state levels
Farmer leaders are critical to the success of FIGs
Exposure visits and demonstrations are used to motivate
Investigate markets to identify interested
manufacturers or wholesale markets
(i.e., avoid traders; shorten the supply chain to avoid middlemen.)
Building Social Capital
VIS-À-VIS MARKET DEVELOPMENT
Two basic types:
Implementing the Strategy (cont.)
Collaborate with research (e.g. SAUs or KVKs) to
develop and test production and post-harvest
technologies and then train FIG members to
produce to contract specifications.
Public-Private Partnerships are emphasized at
block level; emphasis is on ―contract farming‖
between FIGs and companies (e.g. Pepsi and
Hindustan Lever are contracting for basmati rice and
vegetables for processing)
Some other companies are doing this on a smaller scale in
Bihar ( Aromatic crops, exotic vegetables, organic farming
Example-Lemon grass oil production Flow Chart
from CIMAP, Lucknow
or FFDC, Kannauj
Root stock Growing in
nursery in 1/5th area of
Transplanting 6-8 month
in the field
Harvesting for distillation
every 2-3 months depending
on growth of crop
Up to 5 years
total oil yield
120 kg per year
Krishna and CKP25
Varieties most suited
Popularization and technical
support from ATMA, Patna
and KVK, Barh
Oil sold to processors
after 12 Months
to 5 years
Up to 5 years
Impact of this ATMA Model of Extension on
Crop Diversification and Farm Incomes
(Average changes in production area and income in 28
project districts* between 1999-2004; IIM Lucknow data)
• Horticultural Crops: 12 16%
• Oil Seeds: 3 11%
• Herbs and Medicinal Crops: 1 5%
• Sericulture: 0 1%
• Area planted to cereals declined: 55 47%, but
yields increased 14%
• During this period, average farm income increased
24% in project districts in contrast with only 5% in
*All India figures
Performance Indicators of ATMA Programme in Bihar
Impact Indicators Baseline Actual
Absolute Income Gain In Project Districts 61256 68797
Absolute Income Gain In Non-Project
Net Gain In Household Income In Project
Districts household Over Non Project
Per Household Annual Income
Project Districts 89049 99423
Non-Project Districts 93542 85331
Project Districts 145 196
Non-Project Districts 140 174
Benefits Of Adopting New Technologies (%)
Increase In Crop Yield 13
Increase In Farm Income 15
Conclusion: Key Elements of this New
Refocus some research and extension resources to
high-value crops/products, including market
Decentralize extension planning and decision-making;
begin by focusing on local and regional market
Empowering Farmers—organize and train farmers so
they can link to high-value markets; they must get
organized to achieve economies of scale and to
increase market power.
Reasons for Success
Farmer friendly approach to Extension
Partnership with Private Sector
ATMA Single Window delivery point for Technology.
Diversification dictated by market demand only.
Judicious Use of Mass media.
R-E-F-M linkages strengthened with primary focus on
Revitalizing the farmers through capacity building,
Using farmers and private entrepreneurs as Extension
Group focus in all the interventions.
Effective use of NGO’s, & private sector.
Sustainability given due importance, with cost sharing
being the key word in most of the interventions.
ATMA Model : Lessons Learnt
Autonomy, financial flexibility and direct funding
resulted in better outcome.
Better coordination, Convergence, pooling of
resources and integrated delivery of demand driven
Priority settings through the farmers involvement
(SREP , GB and FIAC).
ATMA an effective platform for Public-Private-
SREP as a tool for bottom-up planning
Capacity building through need-based
trainings, exposure visits, demonstrations, etc.