Agricultural Skill Development vs Agricultural Extension: Contradictions and Tensions within a New Scheme in India

University of Melbourne
Start date

Tuesday, 7 May 2019, 16:00

End date

Tuesday, 7 May 2019, 17:30

International Institute of Social Studies
Trent Brown

On 7 May 2019, Dr Trent Brown from the University of Melbourne will conduct a seminar at the International Institute of Social Studies entitled 'Agricultural Skill Development vs Agricultural Extension: Contradictions and Tensions within a New Scheme in India'

Over the last five years, India has developed new agricultural vocational training modules as part of its ‘Skill India’ initiative. This is a new development for India which, historically, has assumed that agricultural skills are acquired inter-generationally and that formal skill development in agriculture is unnecessary. The charge has been led by the Agricultural Skills Council of India, which has developed nationally standardized and certified qualification packs for more than 160 job roles in the agricultural sector.

At present, these skill development programs are primarily being implemented through two types of public institutions: agricultural universities and agricultural science centres. Until now, these institutions’ direct engagement with farmers primarily consisted of agricultural extension services, which aim to deliver scientific knowledge to farmers, typically through short-duration trainings of one week or less.

While there is much potential for a convergence of approaches between agricultural skill development and agricultural extension, the attempt to implement a skill development scheme through an agricultural extension system has generated at least four sources of tension, as extension and skill development proceed from slightly different assumptions. Drawing on recent fieldwork in north India, these sources of tension are explored in detail and the implications for developing effective rural skill development initiatives are considered.

  • Dr Trent Brown is an ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Farmers, Subalterns, and Activists: Social Politics of Sustainable Agriculture in India (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He has written on a variety of topics related to contemporary India, including sustainable rural development, social movements, youth, and migration.