centrally sponsored scheme “Support to extension programme for extension reforms”. The remaining 14 districts have adopted the ATMA model of extension during 2007-08.
4. The implementation experience has brought forth certain deficiencies in the working of extension system. The main reason for this is that the ATMA concept is being implemented as a stand-alone scheme of the Department of Agriculture rather than as a program for promoting convergence, integration and inter-departmental coordination at the district, block and village levels. The major constraints are:
- Lack of convergence in programs of different line departments.
- Lack of provision for dedicated manpower at various levels.
- Inability to use funds allocated by GOI for ATMAs.
- Lack of infrastructural support below district level.
- Inadequate support for growers associations and farmers organizations.
- Inadequate focus on market-led extension.
5. In this context, knowledge and technology transfer will play an important role, something that the project aims to achieve by creating conditions that would allow the ATMA based model of extension to reach its full potential. In addition, the project intends to make agricultural markets more efficient by creating enabling conditions and support for reducing spoilage, generating economies of scale in output marketing and input supply, and fostering increased competition among the buyers of agricultural produce.
6. Marketing extension employs the same best practices as in production extension, in that it focuses on enabling farmers to learn for themselves (i.e. experiential learning) but the focus is on empowering producers to be able to engage directly with the market. The processes normally involve the extension officer taking a group of farmers through a semi-structured training course. Topics include resources audit, simple economic and costing analysis, carrying out own market research, direct interaction with the traders, training in post-harvest handling and marketing planning. There is a need to include traceability, sanitary and phyto-sanitar y standards in the training programs for line department staff