IIT Kharagpur’s Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa is forecasting climatic risks and advising farmers for better agricultural decision-making
Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed an advanced weather prediction system to facilitate better decision making in agricultural production and reduction of climatic uncertainties and risks. Sponsored by the Ministry of Earth Sciences the two projects ‘Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa’ ‘and ‘Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agrometeorology & Land based observations’ provide timely and right management decisions to farmers to minimize the climatic risk of agricultural production and improve economic return of farming community. The Institute, in collaboration with India Meteorological Department, is disseminating a weather based agro-advisory to farmers for improving agricultural production in highly variable weather conditions.
“The agro-advisory indicating crop and variety selection, sowing/planting time, land preparation, input management, harvest, etc are prepared based on future weather and land characteristics of specific location,” said Prof. Dilip Kumar Swain, from the Dept. of Agricultural & Food Engineering at IIT Kharagpur.
Yield forecasting of crops such as rice, mustard and potato are done at the beginning of sowing/planting, during cropping season and before crop harvest for different districts of West Bengal for introducing specific actions to avoid the yield loss due to weather abnormalities.
“Farmers get awareness on input management such as fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticide application every week throughout the cropping season. Based on a five-day weather forecast, the agro-advisory is prepared on Tuesday and Friday every week and communicated to farmers’ through their mobile phone,” he added.
The advisory is sent in local language to about 3 lakh farmers of five districts (West Medinipur, Jharagram, Bankura, Birbhum, and Purulia) in West Bengal. The advisory is also communicated to district level agricultural officers, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, NGOs, farmers’ portal, TV programme, etc. Using the advisory, farmers protect their crop from extreme events and reduce the production cost by need based irrigation, fertilizer and pesticide application.
“Besides sending the agro-advisory, we also conduct training and awareness programmes regularly in villages on organic farming, vermicomposting, hydroponics, integrated farming, advanced production technology, etc for sustainable agricultural growth, farmers’ capacity building, rural employment generation, increasing economic profit, etc.,” remarked Prof. Virendra Kumar Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur.
A good response from the farmers was received about the agromet advisory services provided by IIT Kharagpur, he confirmed