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Reaching out the Technology to farmers
Extension component of agriculture in India is one of the largests in the world in size and competence in reaching out to farmers with latest in farm technology. Its role had been commendable in the early decades of the high yield technology. It had been through a slew of extension skills, which included on-farm demonstrations of new varietal and matching production technologies, farmers-scientists interfaces through field days and Kisan Melas and exclusive training of farmers on productive package of cultivation practices/skills. Among them Compact Block Frontline Demonstration (FLD) conceived and being coordinated by the Directorate of Rice Research since 1990 has been effective in convincing and motivating farmers on adoption of new varietal and production technologies of relevance to given area/ecology. The FLDs laid out in 5-10 acre contiguous area covering fields of small and large farmers keeping other farmers fields around the FLD area as control enable farmers far and near and far to see for themselves the advantage of adopting the demonstrated variety and production package as compared to that of farmers around. The FLDs jointly planned and conducted by the concerned SAUs, the Department of Agriculture and the Directorate of Rice Research, to start with in the rainfed ecologies of eastern India have been found quite effective in motivating farmers to adopt improved technologies. The impact of this extension experiment is quite phenomenal in raising the productivity and production of rice and rice based cropping systems in all rice ecologies in general and handicapped rainfed ecologies in particular.