Farmers’ awareness, perceptions and knowledge gaps: Looking for innovations in agricultural extension

The state of Punjab has followed a path of intensive agriculture, leading to prevalence of rice-wheat monoculture along with higher input–use. As a consequence, it resulted into serious threat of long term sustainability of agriculture within the state. The present study evaluates the major challenges being faced by Punjab farmers in their farming practices, knowledge attainment and further assessing their perceptions about the future threats. The results of the study indicate that farmers are aware about the ill-effects of intensive agriculture and their causes, but they lack awareness on potential solutions for tackling them and access to more scientific and recommended set of practices for more effective operations. The paper generates a case for the innovations in the extension education system, where ICT can play an important role. Various options of web portals, mobile applications and bulk messaging services need to be explored to enhance the effectiveness of the traditional approaches of extension education. Furthermore it emphasize on the set of information, which can be routed more effectively through the innovative extension tools and can add value to the farmers’ decisions.