[PREFACE: The Training and Visit Programme also known as T&V programme was introduced in Assam in around 80’s and subsequently did not thrive well due to some reasons and limitations, Yet this programme ,in our view, is probably considered to be the most effective way to satisfy for boosting up of agriculture production through the single line of face to face approach with farmers by a Village Level Extension worker(VLEW) , Agricultural Extension Officer (AEO) and Subject Matter Specialist (SMS) at a regular interval of period as per prefixed scheduled Training and Visit programme in Agriculture front with special reference to Assam ]
The Training and Visit (T&V) system was a world Bank assisted programme based on conducting regular periodical trainings and visit to Farmers’ field by extension workers and developed by World Bank Expert Daniel Benor. It was also popularly known as Benor Programme.
During the period before the introduction of T&V system in our country, a village worker was being entrusted responsibilities of activities for all round development of various departments at the village level in India. The workers were not adequately trained and in most cases they received pre service training rather than in-service training and under such circumstances they had to act as an multipurpose government agent to look after various schematic activities run by different departments. With a huge burden of works in his head, he simply could not carried out his responsibilities of works of developmental works of many fold nature effectively also in an efficient way.
Despite the T&V system rests purely on activities of a single line agent and provide a platform where an extension worker and a farmer could sit together at field level comfortably and exchange their views regarding transfer of technology transmitted from worker to farmers , in turn the system had also the provision of feedback in regards of addition and subtraction along with problems from field level upwards .It was also aimed at to minimize the gap between activities performed by framers and what can be achieved after adopting new technology on the basis of technical messages received from extension worker. The system usually updated all related technical know-how with regards to all aspects of high yielding varieties also related to various harmful insect pests, diseases along with relevant information regarding irrigation, credit organization, farm mechanization etc. The system had a good impact upon small farmers. It is a system which can helps farmers to receive problem oriented guidance from extension staff.
The basic infrastructural set up of staffing pattern under T & V system included district, sub division, circle, and eleka level. District Level Subject Matter Specialist and the Additional Sub-Divisional Agricultural Officer assisted by a group of Junior Subject Matter Specialist were responsible for trained up of farmers regarding transmission of technical messages and adoption of scientific technology at farmers’ field. Again each Agricultural Sub division was divided into several Agricultural Extension Circles, each one of which was a constituent of numbers of ‘Eleka’. Here too, a single VLEW Eleka was supervised by one Village Level Extension Worker (VLEW). In the initial stage around 800 numbers of farm families were allotted to a particular VLEW. In turn respective VLEWs had to form eight number of farmers group comprising of hundred numbers of farmers in each group. Again ten farmers from each group of 100 nos. of farmers are made Contact Farmers (CF). They kept close contact with VLEWs and were entrusted responsibility to transfer the message regarding agricultural technology to their Co- farmers. A VLEW had to complete his training and visit programme to eight number of farmers’ groups within a fortnight period. The rotation was running in this way to satisfy the success of T&V system.
Further the VLEW as well as the AEO had to maintain a specific diary over day to day visit, where all relevant information such as how many of contact farmers were contacted, messages transmitted to Contact Farmers, adoption of previous message into the fields and its merits and demerits, agricultural related farmers’ problems, feedback and so on, along with comment and signature of visiting senior officers.
In case of training imparted to different category of staff ,the district to sub divisional level officers and SMS had to obtained training at zonal level training mainly imparted by scientist from Assam Agricultural University or its sister organizations where along with other discussions, relevant messages for specific period were being prepared. Subsequently all discussion were percolated to AEOs through AEOs’ training at district level and to VLEWs through cluster training held periodically at district and circle level respectively.
As in the case of other programmes the T&V system has also some limitations. With the time passing out, timing of regular training was not maintained, and there was a higher ratio of farmers in comparison against each extension worker. In some cases required agricultural inputs did not reached to the farmers’ doorstep along with messages transmitted, resulting in hindrance of the relevance of the information or message conveyed to farmers. In some cases workers prefer to interact with rich farmers rather than to contact the small farmers.