ATMA is a society of key stakeholders involved in agricultural activities for sustainable agriculture development in the district. It is a focal point for integrating Research and Extension activities and decentralizing day-to- day management of the public Agricultural Technology System (ATS). It is a registered society responsible for technology dissemination at the district level. As a whole the ATMA would be a facilitating agency rather than implementing Agency. The funds allotted for ATMA includes Establishment of ATMA office at district headquarters, strengthening of line departments by providing infrastructural facilities, establishing FIACs The ATMA will not encourage any practice or program which, the line departments were already initiated. With the minimum budget, ATMA can introduce or demonstrate some of the programs as innovative model, which can be replicated by farmersí organizations.
The ATMA at district level would be increasingly responsible for all technology dissemination activities at the district level. It would have linkage with all the line departments, research organization, non-governmental organizations and agencies associated with agricultural development in the district. Research and Extension units with in the project district such as ZRS or substations, KVK and the key line departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture and Fisheries, Forestry etc. would become constituent members of ATMA. Each Research-Extension (R-E) unit would retain its institutional identity and affiliation but program and procedures concerning district-wise R-E activities would be determined by ATMA Governing Board (GB) to be implemented by its Management Committee (AMC).
The purpose of National Agriculture Technology Project's (NATP) Innovations in Technology Dissemination (ITD) Component is to pilot test new organisation arrangements and operational procedures - not merely strengthen the existing extension system. The following are the key concept of goal of the ITD component of NATP.
- Decentralise decision making to the district level through the creation of Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA).
- To increase farmer input into programme planning and resource allocation, especially at the block level, and to increase accountability to stack holders.
- To increase programme coordination and integration, so that the programme coordination and integration, so that the programme thrusts such as Farming System Innovations, Farmers Organisations, Technology gaps and Natural Resource Management can be more effectively and efficiently implemented.
For Operationalisation of ITD component of National Agriculture Technology Project in the country seven states i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Bihar, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa were selected according to agro-climatic zones. As a pilot testing one district of each states were selected by ICAR and GoI for implementation of the programme.