NEW DELHI, 10 July 2016 : India has said that farmer friends have been increased to 112,487 during 2015-16, Indian minister of state for agriculture & farmers welfare, Parshottam Rupala said in the lower house of the parliament recently.
During 2014-15, 106,618 farmer friends (FF) were identified, the minister adds.
These FF are identified under the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) scheme to support agricultural extension reforms in the states during 2005-06.
These FF are now working in 652 districts of 29 States and 3 UTs in the country revitalization of the extension system and making available the latest agricultural technologies in different thematic areas to increase agricultural production through extension activities viz. Farmers Training, Demonstration, Exposure Visits, Kisan Mela, Mobilization of Farmers Groups and Setting up of Farm Schools.
The FF is serving as a vital link between extension workers and farmers at village level.
In order to percolate the benefits of ATMA Scheme down to the farmers for adoption of good agricultural practices, an innovative support is being provided under the Scheme from 2010-11 through FF at village level @ one FF per two villages. The FF is serving as a vital link between extension workers and farmers at village level.
Under the Scheme, Grants-in-aid is released to State Governments through their respective State Treasuries based on their approved State Extension Work Plan (SEWP).
ATMA Guidelines, 2014 provide for identifying one FF per two villages. Further, as per Guidelines, Farmer Friends are provided with special opportunity for up-gradation of their skills through Trainings, Study Tours and Visits to State Agricultural Universities/other institutes, by utilizing support available under ATMA.
For assisting FF a provision of contingency amount of Rs.6000 per annum has been made under the Scheme which is shared between the Centre and the State Government on 50:50 basis.