Strengthening the Pluralistic Agricultural Extension System in Bihar State, India

Author(s):

Brent Simpson, John Verrieur, K.M. Singh .

Institution(s):

University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana .

Date Published:

November 1, 2013 .

The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) project conducted a rapid scoping mission to examine pluralistic extension provisioning in Bihar State, India, at the request of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) India. The aim was to develop recommendations for strengthening extension and advisory services in support of the Improved Rice-based Rain-fed Agricultural Systems (IRRAS) project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The fieldwork for the assessment was carried out from September 24 to October 5, 2012, and included in-depth interviews with Department of Agriculture (DoA) staff members at all levels, international and national non-governmental organization (NGO) staff members, farmers, agricultural researchers and private sector representatives. To the extent possible, interviews were carried out on the “shop floors” of the various respondents, allowing the MEAS team to visit farms, state-, district- and block-level extension offices, research and extension facilities, input dealers and their suppliers. The mission aimed to understand the institutional and organizational landscape, identify the principal actors, ascertain respective resource levels, targets, operational modalities, inter-organizational relationships, areas of conflict and gaps. On the basis of the information collected and observations, the team identified a number of key issues in extension provisioning in the state where the IRRAS project can make valued contributions in strengthening a more sustainable and market-driven system of extension and advisory services.