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The Information and Sales Centre – The ‘seed’ of ATIC & Upgradation to ATIC

The Kerala Agricultural University established in 1972, had several research stations in and around Mannuthy and Vellanikkara that served as production centres for technologies and planting materials.  However, farmers visiting KAU were finding it extremely difficult to purchase materials of their choice from these stations located at different places. This prompted farmer groups of all hues to urge the University to create a nodal Centre from where they could purchase technologies and planting materials of the University. It was this public demand that led to the concept of the Information and Sales Centre.

The Information and Sales Centre (I&SC), Mannuthy started functioning on July16, 1993 as an independent unit under the administrative control of the Directorate of Extension with an initial investment of 24 lakhs. The Centre, a long cherished dream of the farmers of Kerala, ushered in an innovative model of technology dissemination.  A single window system to make available agricultural information, technology, value-added products and planting material was thus put in place.  The entire process of production in the various research stations of KAU, logistic support, transfer of products and delivery mechanism through I&SC, evolved over a period of time, won acclaim from farmer organizations and individual farmers.

This successful intervention won the attention of ICAR and prompted the Council to develop the concept of Agriculture Technology Information Centre (ATIC).  Forty-four centres were established throughout India along the lines of I&SC.  In the year 2000, the Information and Sales Centre was upgraded to ATIC fully funded by the ICAR under the NATP.

The ATIC building

The ICAR provided funds for constructing  a new ATIC  building that was designed to suite the single window approach of technology dissemination.  In the beginning of 2000, the construction of the ATIC building was outsourced to trade.  From the tender notices received , the Executive Committee of KAU awarded the work to a reputed NGO viz: the Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development (COSTFORD).  An MOU was signed between KAU and COSTFORD for  the purpose of construction.  The Committee approved a total area of 574.3 m2, as against 390.3m2 prescribed by the ICAR. The Honourable Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Sri Hukum deo Narayan Yadav, laid the foundation stone of ATIC on 14th May 2000.  Dr.K.N.Shyamasundaran Nair, Vice Chancellor, KAU presided over the foundation stone laying ceremony.  Dr.R.Gopinathan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr.K V Peter, Director of Research, Dr.A I Jose, Director of Extension and other important dignitaries attended the ceremony.

Construction of the ATIC building commenced in August 2000.  The site chosen for the building was a prime land adjacent to the Directorate of Extension facing the National Highway (NH 47), connecting Thrissur and Coimbatore.  A clock tower of height 24 metres adorns the building.  The construction of ATIC building was completed in October 2002 at an expenditure of 43.07 lakhs.