My dear readers of Journal of Extension Education,
We, at ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, had organized ‘Cane-ovate’ (portmanteau of Cane + Innovate), a National-level workshop for innovative sugarcane farmers of India, during October 2021. During the workshop, these farmers who had successfully practised ‘process’ innovations, ‘product’ innovations, reinventions and ‘marketing’ innovations (entrepreneurship) were given the title of ‘Cane-ovators’. They shared their valuable experiences in developing and practising innovative methods in sugarcane agriculture with the fellow-farmers during the workshop.
We are aware of Rogers’ (1962) theory of classifying farmers into five innovation groups – wherein the ‘innovators’ are small in number (2.5%). Several challenges exist for this small group, in the farmers’ perspective. They are (Farmer-led-innovations, n.d):
Lack of accommodative attitude of outsiders including extension organizations, research organizations and policy makers to farmers’ knowledge, perceptions and values is a major challenge that slows down farmers’ innovation process. Failure of outsiders to have an attitude of appreciation and recognition of the knowledge and value systems of the farmers, as a source of innovation and inspiration, is a cause of concern.
Farmers’ roles have been and still are very passive in agricultural technology generation in the formal system.
Despite their great interest and enthusiasm to try new things, many farmers are constrained with resource limitations, apparently not able to take risks and carry out experiments with their meagre resources.
Many of the innovative farmers agree that it is not easy to get accepted by fellow farmers and the community in general. According to many innovative farmers, many people have the tendency to believe that it is only the literate and intellectual people (like the extension workers) who could bring something new and important to the farmers
Illiteracy is another challenge to farmers. There are many works involved in innovation process that requires understanding measurement. Many of our farmers are illiterate particularly in technical aspects, due to which, innovative farmers are being forced to do it by trial and error.
Encouraging farmer-led-innovations and recognizing them by organizing ‘Cane-ovate’ kind of workshops, would, help the innovators to collaborate with other actors in agricultural innovation systems.
Well. A new Executive Council is in place now at Extension Education Society.
Dr. H. Philip, the outgoing President, is well-appreciated for his dedicated service of over 31 years to the Society, since 1991. Dr. Philip had served as an Associate Editor of JEE during 1991-97, as JEE’s Chief Editor during 1998-2016 and as President of Extension Education society, during 2016-2022. We would also like to thank all the outgoing members of the Editorial team for their support and dedication.
D PUTHIRA PRATHAP
JEE 34 (2)