Innovation Impact: Govt of Andhra Pradesh to scale-up MSSRF’s Village Knowledge Centre model across the state

February 10, 2020: A massive effort to set up over 11,158 Ryuthu Bharosa Kendralu (RBKs) or Farmers’ Facilitation Centres across the state of Andhra Pradesh, was launched today by the Chief Minister Shri Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy in partnership with 11 agricultural research institutions. MSSRF is pleased to be a knowledge partner for this initiative that can make a positive impact on the lives of several thousands of smallholder farmers and scale-up an initiative it had started nearly three decades ago.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with partners, took place in presence of the Chief Minister. Minister of Agriculture, Shri K Kanna Babu, Animal Husbandry Minister  Mopidevi  Venkata  Ramana, Civil Supplies Minister KSV Rao and Agriculture Special Chief Secretary Poonam Malakondaiah highlighted the potential benefits of RBK at the meeting.The Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Animal husbandry, CEO, AP State seed Development corporation, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and other senior officials participated.

“It is a matter of our privilege for us,” said Dr G N Hariharan, Executive Director (in-charge), MSSRF “not just because we are supporting the state government for a such a major initiative, but also because we pioneered the idea through the guidance of Prof M S Swaminathan, many years ago. We are happy that we can support this model, to reach out across the state on a large scale.”

Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs)– based on which model the RBKs are now being set up, were initiated by MSSRF in 1992. Over years, several Village Resource Centres (VRCs) and VKCs helped empower farmers with information to improve lives and livelihoods. State-wide RBKs are an endorsement of this model. The RBKs will also reach out to fishing communities. 

The Secretary, Dept of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, stated that RBKs will serve as a one-stop solutions for locale-specific information and quality inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticidesbesides marketing. It will train farmers on improved technologies, serve as a common platform to integrate Government services anddisseminate knowledge for farmers with allied services. They would be established in all grampanchayats with sizable agriculture & allied activities, to bring agriculture and related stakeholders together, while offering services to farmers for year-round productivity, profitability and sustainability.

The Government Order notes that the Knowledge Partners’ advice, resources and connections are essential for RBKs. MSSRF’s role is for capacity building, dissemination of Best Practices besides sharing latest technical developments to farmers at the village level. Other partners include National Seed Research and Training center, Varanasi, Central Fertilizer Quality Control & Training Institute, Central Insecticide Laboratory, National Institute of Plant Health Management, Division of Agricultural Extension and Soil Science, IARI,State Management Institute of Livestock Enterprise, Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture, National Dairy Research Institute, Central Institute for Freshwater Aquaculture, Central Institute For Brackish water Aquaculture, Central Institute for Fish Technology and Indian Veterinary Research Institute.The setting up of all RBKs is expected to be fast-tracked to be completed by April, 2020 for ensuring knowledge transfer and inputs.

Photo credit: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister's office