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Functional Structure

Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC)

The importance of an appropriate information package and its dissemination as an input has assumed added emphasis in this “information age”. The kind of information and the way it is to be used are critical factor to the growth of agriculture. It is also worth noting that it is no longer enough for research to generate information alone. The required information is also to be delivered to the end user at one place. This information must be direct, clear and easily understandable and without any room for distortion.

There is a greater need for coordination between researchers and technology users. A higher degree of integration needs to be achieved by having a formal management mechanism linking scientists or department in charges of different disciplines (though engaged in interdependent tasks) on the one hand to the technology users on the other. The linkage mechanism should be with formal, permanent, mandated, facilitated and designated function. The establishment of an Agricultural Technology Information Centre will provide such a mechanism beyond the individual unit of a research institution to contribute to the dissemination of the information. This will serve as a single window delivery system for services and products of research for the areas in which the concerned institute is involved.

The cornerstone of India’s agricultural revolution has been the availability of improved varieties of cereals, oilseeds, pulses, etc. breed of livestock including poultry and fisheries; horticultural plant materials, and improved management practice for increase productivity, sustainability and stability of various crops and livestock enterprises. This has raised the search by farmers for future availability of seed, planting materials and other materials, easy accessibility to diagnostic services for soil fertility and plant protection, availability of appropriate information through leaflets and pamphlets and increased scope in sale of consultancy services. Often the farmers are not aware as to whom and where to approach for field problems. It is felt that the facility of a ‘single window’ approach at the entrance of the ICAR Institute/ State Agricultural Universities will enable the farmers to have the required information for the solution to their problems related to the areas in which the concerned institute is involved. Because of the dominance of small and resource poor farmers and concentration of poor people in several sectors, public institutions like ICAR institutes and SAU’s will continue to play a vital role in supply of information for increasing the overall productivity in agriculture.

The rationale for establishment of ATIC are 

  1. to provide diagnostic services for soil and water testing, plant and livestock health; 

  2. to supply research products such as seeds and other planting materials, poultry strains, livestock breeds, fish seed, processed products, etc, emerging from the institution for testing and adaptation by various clientele; 

  3. providing information through published literature and communication materials as well as audio-visual aids; and 

  4. providing an opportunity to the institutes/ SAU’s to generate some resource through the sale of their technologies.

The important criteria of Agricultural Technology Information are 

  1. availability (or accessibility) of new technologies;
  2. relevance of new technologies; 
  3. responsiveness of new technologies to the needs of different categories of farmers; and 
  4. sustainability of such unit within the overall institutional system

The Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC) is a “single window” support system linking the various units of a research institution with intermediary users and end users (farmers) in decision making and problem solving exercise.

By building on the past investment in infrastructures in these institutions considerable farm worthy techniques/ technologies/ knowledge material have been developed in the institutions which can provide the techniques, technologies, seeds and planting materials to the farmers and other organizations for taking up the frontier technologies, to the field. This will facilitate in dealing effectively with the complexity and diversity of information system and channels. Such information will be useful for:

  • Farmers;

  • Farmer-entrepreneurs;

  • Extension workers and development agencies;

  • NGOs; and

  • Private sector organizations.

These centres will provide a ‘balanced scorecard’ in terms of;

  • Financial- Resource generation and financial sustainability;

  • Customers-measures on performance of the technology from the customer’s point of view;

  • Process- the performance of key internal processes in terms of providing quality services, seed and plant materials, etc. linkage with district extension system and, spread of improved technology and productivity in the area: and

  • Learning- the ability of the research organization to improve continuously and innovate in its products, services and processes.

Objectives:

The objectives for establishment of such centres as a single window system are as follows:

  • To provide a ‘single window’ delivery system for the products and species available from an institution to the farmers and other interested groups as process of innovativeness in Technology Dissemination at the institute level.

  • To facilitate direct the farmers access to the institutional resources available in terms of technology, advice, technology products, etc. for reducing technology dissemination losses; and

  • To provide mechanism for feedback from the users to the institute.

Formulation of Proposal

The programme will be implemented at 40 centres in two phase 20 centres in each phase. The project will provide a one time revolving fund and the revenue generated out of the revolving fund contingency will be ploughed back under the same head of accounts year after year. The salary of the staff engaged in the project will be met out from the regular budget of the University/Institute.

The technologies will be provided for a nominal profit. The project will be expected to sustain itself over a period of time, depending on the technologies and the agro-eco systems/ production systems. The materials/ technologies will be obtained from various divisions of the SAUs/Institute. The cost of material may be returned to the concerned division/department/section to continue the process of multiplication/production for ATIC. The period taken for the ATIC to achieve self-sustainance may very from place to place but the salary of the staff will not be added to the centre’s budget. Each centre will be required to submit a project within three months indicating the time frame and the break-even point to examine the sustainability of the project. In addition to supporting individual farmers, farmers groups, public and private agencies in supplying quality materials techniques/ technologies/ knowledge etc. the information services and supplies will include:

  • Soil and water sample testing facilities.

  • Plant clinic & diagnostic centre.

  • Rhizobium culture.

  • IPM- organic & biopesticides, NPV

  • Seed and planting material, small implements.

  • Fertilizer quality testing.

  • Insecticide quality testing.

  • Tissue culture and plant materials

  • Farm literature-leaflets, pamphlets, journals, / magazines, booklets, manuals etc.

  • Audio and video cassettes on crops and other enterprises.

  • Video show.

  • Processed products- cereals, milk, meat, fish, veg, fruits, mushroom, honey etc.

  • Cafeteria (Tea/coffee/lassi/cold drinks/ snacks etc.).

  • Technology park (Display)/ Exhibition.

  • Vety. Animal clinical services for small as well as large animals.

  • Poultry strains, livestock breeds, fish seed etc.

All the information on technologies, techniques, knowledge and materials, including planting materials, seeds, advisory services, diagnostic services, etc are proposed to be supplied through a single window system. This requires a small building – to be provided/constructed/renovated by the host institute- at the entrance of the main campus so that the ATIC window is easily accessible to the farmers, state development officials and other users. This structure should have a sale counter, a hall for screening the technology on TV /VCR, technical books/ an information room, provision of tea/coffee, attached toilets and open space for keeping planting materials/varieties. This will necessitate construction of required structures or renovation of existing building to suit the requirement of the project. The proposal for new contract / renovation submitted by the organization as per the blue print will be vetted by the Director of Works of ICAR.

In order to keep track of the progress in the implementation of the programme approved for funding the reporting schedule will be in the form of half-yearly, annual and completion reports, prescribed proformas for which will be provided. The schedule of the reporting and submission of audited accounts are to be strictly followed.

The proposal may be formulated by following these guidelines:

  • Establishment of Agricultural Technology Information Centre (ATIC) may be operated under the overall supervision of the Director of the ICAR Institute or Director of Extension in SAUs. These must involved the staff of the relevant subject matter divisions:

  • All ATIC proposals have to emerge out of intensive, even repeated, interactive process with the participating departments/ Division of the Institute/SAU under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor/ Director. A committee may be constituted under the leadership of Director of Extension of SAUs/ Director of Institute involving relevant Divisions/Departments. The manager of the ATIC will act as member-secretary to develop the proposal for establishment of the Centre. Institutes/ SAUs failing to respond in time will be left out for the first phase and can be considered for the later stage.

  • Involvement of an Agricultural economist in the formulation of proposal particularly for financial analysis will be beneficial.

  • One of the key indicators of success of ATIC will be the number of the farmers and farmers’ groups visiting the centre, the sale of the technologies/materials, the number of farmers trained per year and the kind of technological feedback received, documented and passed on to the research extension systems.

  • The financial package will include support for training of ATIC Manager, need based publications, purchase of equipment including its maintenance, working contingency and the cost of civil works, including new constructions/renovations.

  • The budget provision made under the revolving fund would be utilized as per the ICAR’s guidelines of operation of revolving fund.

Obligation of the participatory institution.

The participating institutions/ SAUs are expected to provide support in terms of technological as well as methodological backstopping for implementation of the Project. The participating institution/SAU shall undertake:

  • To provide the basic infrastructure facilities for the ATIC;

  • To provide the salaries and other facilities and services necessary for implementation of the project.

  • To assist in the implementation and the monitoring of the project. The full cost of this element shall be borne by the participating institution.

  • To ensure timely preparation and accuracy of accounts and their audit.

  • To follow up the prescribed procedures for procurement of stores and services etc. as guided by NATP or World bank.

Certificate of undertaking to this effect is to be given by the participating institutions/SAUs.

The ATIC Centres in North Eastern Region:

  1. ICAR Research Complex for NEH region, Barapani-793 103, Meghalaya

  2. Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat, Assam.

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