Based on the recommendation of the Education Commission (1964-66), consideration / review by the Planning Commission and Inter-Ministerial Committee, and further recommendation by the committee headed by Dr.Mohan Singh Mehta appointed by ICAR in 1973 the idea of establishment of Farm Science Centre (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) was evolved.
The first KVK, on a pilot basis, was established in 1974 at Pondicherry under the administrative control of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, in 1976-77, the Planning Commission approved the proposal of the ICAR to establish 18 KVKs during the Fifth Five Year Plan. With the growing demand for more such Kendras, 12 more KVKs were approved by the Governing Body of the Council in 1979 and established in the same year from Agricultural Produce Cess Fund (AP Cess). Pending clearance of the Sixth Five-Year Plan scheme on KVK by the Planning Commission, 14 additional KVKs were again approved by the Council in 1981, which were established during 1982-83 from AP Cess Fund.
A High Level Evaluation Committee on KVK was constituted by the ICAR in 1984, who after thorough review of the programme, strongly recommended for the establishment of more KVKs in the country. Keeping this in view, the Planning Commission approved to establish 44 KVKs during the Sixth Plan. Thus, by the end of Sixth Plan, 89, KVKs had started functioning in the country.
During Seventh Plan, 20 new KVKs were established. The success of KVKs at many locations created a great demand for establishment of more KVKs in the remaining districts of the country. Accordingly, the Planning Commission further approved 74 new KVKs to be established during the period 1992-93. Again in the Eighth Plan (1992-97), 78 new KVKs were approved and the same were established in the country, making total number of functional KVKs by the end of the Eighth Plan to 261.
The number of KVKs increased to 290 during Ninth Plan with the establishment of 29 KVKs.
On the occasion of the independence Day Speech on 15th August, 2005 the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India announced that by the end of 2007 there should be one KVK in each of the rural districts of the country.
This has resulted in establishment of 551 KVKs at the end of Tenth Plan which include 371 under State Agricultural Universities (SAU) and Central Agricultural University (CAU), 40 under ICAR Institute, 88 under NGOs, 33 under State Governments, 3 under PSUs and the remaining 16 under other educational institutions.
At present there are 567 KVKs established in the country. With a decision of establishment of KVKs in all the rural districts during Tenth Plan, the qualitative improvement in the working of KVKs was envisaged through the mandate as
Technology assessment, refinement and demonstration of technology / products.
The activities of KVK include
* On-farm testing to identify the location specificity of agricultural technologies under various farming systems.
* Frontline demonstrations to establish its production potentials on the farmers’ fields.
* Training of farmers to update their knowledge and skills in modern agricultural technologies, and training of extension personnel to orient them in the frontier areas of technology development.
* To work as resource and knowledge centre of agricultural technology for supporting initiatives of public, private and voluntary sector for improving the agricultural economy of the district.
In order to create awareness about improved technology, a large number of extension activities will be taken up. The seeds and planting materials produced by the KVKs will also be made available to the farmers.
The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations of the producers of the plantation crops in South India. Established in 1893, UPASI has a rich heritage of leadership in research and extension services of the plantation industry. The primary role of UPASI is to represent the planters’ /Growers interests in national and international forums. Apart from the representative function, it is engaged in scientific research, economic research, statistical analysis commodity affairs, industrial relations, taxation and finance, land and legal issues, publications, public relations and communications, conferences, seminars and rural development. The salient features of research, extension and development include running of a well established Tea Research Foundation and seven regional centers in different tea growing areas for transfer of technology, catering to the needs of the planters in Southern India, besides operating Krishi Vigyan Kendra to uplift the small farmers in the Nilgiris.
The UPASI-Krishi Vigyan Kendra sponsored by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Government of India is involved in transfer of technologies in agriculture and allied activities to the farming/Planting community. Prime objective of the Kendra is to develop Agriculture/Horticulture Industry, with special emphasize on tea cultivation, vegetable production, cutflower cultivation, herbal and medicinal plants cultivation and post harvest technologies. Special programmes on watershed development, nutrition education, improvement of soil health, pest and disease management and imparting skill oriented income generating training programmes are also undertaken. Soil and water conservation technologies and natural resource management are also given importance in all programmes. The Kendra is imparting need based and problem oriented training activities in the above areas with special reference to small sector. On Farm Testing for identifying location specific technologies, Front line demonstration in various field to demonstrate various proven technologies in farmers field and feed back information are other areas of interest to achieve the objective. Various demonstration units are maintained for the benefit of farmers to ensure the concept “Seeing is believing”; improvement of the quality and productivity by adopting proper scientific cultivational practices has helped farmers to have more economic returns. The Kendra has established functional linkages with various institutions to enhance appropriate and effective dissemination of innovative technologies.