The focus of extension would shift from production to productivity, quality of production, marketing and increased income of the farmers. This would be achieved by following good agricultural practices, cost effective and intelligent marketing of the farm produce. Increased emphasis would be placed on post harvest management, value addition, traceability. This would create a number of agri-business opportunities culminating in formulation of bankable projects, commercialization/business plans. The Common Interest Groups/Farmers Interest Groups (CIGs/FIGs) getting organized around a particular commodity for services would need to be guided, mentored and facilitated to capture emerging marketing and agri-business opportunities. The present structure of ATMA does not have expertise in this field. The marketing extension to be strengthened through this project would necessitate having the services of one agricultural marketing expert in each ATMA. The Marketing Expert would be supported by an accountant and computer operator at the district level. This unit of three persons would function under the Project Director ATMA. The services of this unit would, however, be available to all line departments (Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Agril. Marketing) of ATMA. This functional unit of marketing extension would also constantly liaise with ABPF at state level, so as to get inputs and guidance regarding program implementation and development of location specific strategies. It will be in touch with the service providers facilitating setting up of FCSCs. It will help in developing Marketing Strategy Supplement (MSS) to the SREP for the district and identify specific production and commercial activities to be focused on every year. The services of Agricultural Marketing Expert, Accountant and Computer Operator would be hired on contract for the project period in all the districts.
Equipment, IT and other support for ATMAs:
The project will support need based equipment, computers, IT and internet facilities, renovation and rehabilitation of office. Support will also be provided for operational costs, special studies, formation and training of FIGs, farmer federations and commodity associations, preparation of CDs, videos. The provision for information technology support would be available at district / FIAC level which would be shared with the relevant line departments involved in MACP.