Bhubaneswar: Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment launched the second batch of Krushi Unnat Sahjogi (KUS) Program at the SOA University, Bhubaneshwar. “256 students from SOA University and Centurion University will be interning with the department for the next 2 months. The students will be deployed in 107 priority blocks of the state including the pest endemic blocks” said Dr. M. Muthukumar, IAS, Director, Agriculture and Food Production after inaugurating the training session for the 2nd batch of students. “Each student’s performance would be tracked through the mobile app developed by the department and based on their overall performance they will be recognized at the end of the program” he added. The launch program was also attended by Dr. Amit Banerjee – Vice-Chancellor, SOA University, Dr. Bijoy Kumar Sahoo – Dean, SOA University and Sj. Bijoy Bhusan Patnaik, DDA – Plant Protection, Directorate of Agriculture. Dr Banerjee emphasised on how it is a golden opportunity for the student to learn from the department officials and farmers and understanding the prevailing conditions on the ground.
The KUS program was launched by Dr. Arun Kumar Sahoo, Hon’ble Agriculture Minister on 3rd July 2019. On that day, 237 students from Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) were inducted in the program to work in 104 priority blocks of the state.
Krushi Unnat Sahjogi or Agriculture Development Associate program is one of its kind apprenticeship programs in the country, which aims to leverage the final year undergraduate students in improving the extension activities in the focus blocks of the state. The program is not only an innovative practice in the agriculture domain but is a good example of how the government can play its role in skilling the students.
Each associate is considered to be an agent of change on the ground. The department would rely on them for multiple assessments and gap identification for ongoing initiatives. Similarly, the program will help the students in gaining practical knowledge along with exposure to multiple government initiatives.
Besides improving the adoption of key schemes, the student associates will also be involved in conducting input availability field assessments and ensuring the timely availability of inputs to the farmers with the support of the district and block officials.
The program focusses on areas like safe usage of pesticides, pest surveillance, fertilizer availability, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Saura Jalnidhi, Farm Mechanisation.
The department has developed a mobile for collecting the data from the associates and also to monitor the presence of associates in the field. The associates mark their attendance using GPS tracker on a daily basis. It is noteworthy that for the first batch more than 96% attendance has been recorded.