The Farmer FIRST Programme (FFP) is an ICAR initiative to move beyond the production and productivity, to privilege the smallholder agriculture and complex, diverse and risk prone realities of majority of the farmers through enhancing farmers-scientists interface. There are concepts and domains that are new in emphasis like resource management, climate resilient agriculture, production management including storage, market, supply chains, value chains, innovation systems, information systems, etc.
The Farmer FIRST as a concept of ICAR is developed as farmer in a centric role for research problem identification, prioritization and conduct of experiments and its management in farmers’ conditions. The focus is on farmer’s Farm, Innovations, Resources, Science and Technology (FIRST). Two terms ‘enriching knowledge’ and ‘integrating technology’ qualify the meaning of Farmer FIRST in Indian context. Enriching knowledge signifies the need for the research system as well as farmers to learn from each other in context to existing farm environment, perception of each other and interactions with the sub-systems established around. Technology integration is looked from the perspective that the scientific outputs coming out from the research institutions, many times do not fit as such in the farmers’ conditions and thus, certain alterations and adaptations are required at field level for their acceptance, adoption and success.
The project entitled “Socio-economic Empowerment of Farmers through Farming System Interventions for Sustainable Agriculture Development in Ahmednagar District” under ICAR Farmer FIRST Programme is being implemented by the university since 2016-17. The project focuses on the Integrated Farming System (IFS) modules and is being implemented in chinchvihire and Kangar Villages of Ahmednagar district. Around 750 farm families are involved in this programme. The various IFS components include pulses and cereals production technologies, horticultural crops along with dairy management, farm pond fishery, goatry and backyard poultry. This would lead to increasing crop productivity and income. This technology application approach need to be out scaled and up scaled for the benefit of both research and extension system.
The Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme was initiated in 2007 as an umbrella scheme for ensuring holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors by allowing states to choose their own agriculture and allied sector development activities as per the district/state agriculture plan.
The project entitled Farmer FIRST with budget outlay of Rs. 5.91 crore is in MPKV initiative to move beyond the production and productivity and to privilege the complex, diverse and risk prone realities of majority of the farmers through enhancing farmers-scientists contact with multi stakeholder’s participation. The various technology components include Sugarcane+ Vegetable Intercrops (1500), Cotton based production technology (900), Groundnut based production technology (300), Gram based production technology (300), Bacterial blight disease management in pomegranate (600), Cigatoka disease management in Banana (300), Onion set planting (chingali Kanda-900), Mole plough technology for ill drained soil (450) and Animal Component (Reed support, Health care and mineral supplement, Artificial insemination in cows for upgrading, Supply of fodder grasses sets, Backyard poultry-Supply of chicks and feeding (300). Thus, through this project University has reached 5550 farmer participants thereby horizontal expansion of the farmers in the region.