IRRI co-organizes multi-stakeholder dialogue to strengthen extension and advisory services in Odisha

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), together with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment (DAFE) of the Government of Odisha, brought together over 35 key stakeholders for a policy dialogue on how extension and advisory services (EAS) can contribute more effectively to Odisha’s agricultural transformation.

At a time when farmers are facing complex challenges like climate change, depleting natural resources, increased incidence of pests and diseases, and poor nutrition, a dynamic and pluralistic extension system has an essential and vital role to play in supporting farmers to effectively address these challenges.

The dialogue, held last 17 August 2019, was chaired by Dr. Saurabh Garg IAS, Principal Secretary of DAFE, and drew on studies undertaken by IRRI in collaboration with the Center for Research on Innovation and Science Policy (CRISP) to understand the extension landscape, opportunities, and capacity needs in the State.

Participants in the dialogue represented the pluralistic extension landscape of Odisha, with public and private sector actors including the Directorate of Agriculture, Directorate of Horticulture, Directorate of Soil Conservation, Directorate of Extension Education of the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, the Institute on Management of Agricultural Extension (IMAGE), the Odisha Livelihoods Mission (OLM), Regional Information Technology Enable Services (RITES), Krishi Jagran, Digital Green, Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), Pradan, and Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD).

Dr. Rasheed Sulaiman V, Director of CRISP, shared key findings and priorities identified through the aforementioned studies and elaborated on plans of an IRRI-Odisha project to strengthen capacities, including the development and delivery of extension trainers focused on new topics like value chain extension, extension and advisory for climate-smart agriculture, facilitation for development, and design and delivery of gender-responsive services. Also discussed were the development of new introduction modules for newly recruited extension officers so they are aware…