Agripedia

Agriculture Journalism – Extension Functionaries Amid Pandemic

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

India is predominantly an agrarian rural economy, with around 69% of it’s population living in rural areas and around 47% engaged in agriculture. Agricultural research, education and extension are said to be the most important components for promoting farm productivity and income. The extension system bridges the gap between research labs and farmer’s field, and thus improves their livelihood conditions. 

Without proper agriculture extension activity, the vision of doubling of farmer’s income by 2022, cannot be achieved. 

Constraints  

According to Nandi and Nedumaran (2019), the public extension functionaries are burdened with non-extension responsibilities like distribution of subsidies and inputs, due to which their efficiency in extension decreases. Moreover, the extension machinery mostly focuses on crop husbandry sector, ignoring other allied activities.  

Recruitments in under-staffed departments and proper trainings of professionals, can significantly improve farmer’s income. 

Covid-19 impacts on Extension  

The decision to lockdown countries, in order to contain spread of COVID-19 has resulted in multiple problems. Supply chain disruption, labour shortage and limited extension activities, added to the problems of the farming sector. 

To keep the food supply chain moving amid this lockdown, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization urged the G20 leaders to ensure actions for sustaining agriculture sector. 

The Extension workers resorted to digital platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube to provide important advisories and updates to the farmers. The government and corporate sector came forward to sustain the food supply chain by e-procurement of commodities. Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) were strengthened, as their potential to address market disruptions in wake of pandemics like COVID-19 was realised. 

Agriculture journalists offered agriculture information to Indian farmers and students, through various platforms like television, radio, live sessions, newspapers and magazines. Amid Corona virus pandemic, they emerged as the best players in extension activity. They helped the farming sector, by providing latest updates and information. 

The Krishi Jagran, the Hindu Business Line, the Times of India, etc, emerged as an excellent extension functionary and provided farmers with weather updates and farming advisories. 

Agriculture Journalism

Agriculture journalism is a specialized branch of journalism which deals with the techniques of receiving, writing, editing and reporting from information through the media like newspapers, periodicals, radio, Television, advertising, etc. and the management processes connected with such production. 

Journalism is the publication of news and views on different aspects of human activities, in newspapers and periodicals. A journalist conveys national policies and schemes to public in simple language and keeps the government informed about the needs of people. 

Need of Agriculture journalism

The farmer to extension worker ratio is very wide, thus public extension system is unable to meet the demand of farmers for information. The mass media is capable of reaching vast widespread audience. 

Agriculture journalists are providing farmers with latest updates on schemes and technologies. The lessons learnt from COVID-19 pandemic may encourage the policy-makers to draft a separate policy for “Agriculture Journalism”. 

Principle of good writing: 

ABC’s of journalism includes: Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity.

Principle

  • Select facts

  • Sift facts

  • Sort facts

Purpose of Journalism  

1. Inform: Disseminate news and miscellaneous non-news items

2. Influence: Giving either a social or commercial message

3. Entertainment: Enjoyable by the reader

Conclusion  

The present condition of lockdown has shown the potential of agriculture journalism in taking over the extension machinery of agriculture sector. With mass media technologies, accurate and useful information can be disseminated to large number of farmers. The Government of India should come up with a policy on agricultural journalism, so that trained professionals are generated and efficient extension is carried out. Assistance should be provided to private media houses for upgrading skills of agriculture journalists.  

References 

Nandi R and Nedumaran S. 2019. Agriculture Extension System in India: A Meta-analysis. Research journal of Agricultural Sciences 10(3):473-479 

Like this article?

Hey! I am Hitul Awasthi. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Nadi Ad

Subscribe to our Newsletter and get handpicked updates!