Growing uncertainties of weather and climate pose a major threat to food security of the country and thus warrant for farmers empowerment of informed decision in agricultural risk management. Besides the possible impacts of climate change also pose major challenges in agriculture sector in the country. The combination of long-term changes and the greater frequency of extreme weather events are also likely to have adverse impacts on the food production in the coming decades. India Meteorological Department has taken major initiative to implement innovative and state of art technologies which are essential to address the above mentioned issues of weather and climate on Indian agriculture and also to realize the present day needs of the farmers of the country and also to meet the demands of the poorer section of the country. India Meteorological Department (IMD) started Integrated Agro-Meteorological Advisory Service (IAAS) in the country for the benefits of farmers. Agro-meteorological service rendered by IMD, Ministry of Earth Sciences is an innovative step to contribute to weather information based crop/livestock management strategies and operations dedicated to enhancing crop production by providing real time crop and location specific agromet services with outreach to village level. This indeed has a potential to change the face of India in terms of food security and poverty alleviation.
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The IAAS provides a very special kind of inputs to the farmer as advisory bulletin. It has made a tremendous difference to the agriculture production by taking the advantage of benevolent weather and minimizes the adverse impact of malevolent weather. IMD launched the scheme IAAS in the country in collaboration with different organisations/institutes/stakeholders from 1st April 2007 for weather wise farm management. Under IAAS, a mechanism was developed to integrate weather forecast, climatic and agro-meteorological information to prepare agro-advisories which contribute significantly to enhance farm productivity and trying to solve the food security in India.
The support on above is rendered through preparing district specific agrometeorological advisory bulletins which are tailored to meet the farmers’ need and are made relevant to his decision making processes. The suggested advisories generally alter actions in a way that improves outcomes as it contains advice on farm management actions aiming to take advantage of good weather and mitigate the stress on crop/livestock. The bulletins are encoded in a format and language which is easy to comprehend by the farmer. The agrometeorologists first interpret the immediate past weather and the forecast for next 5 days and translate it into layman’s terms so that the farmers can understand it. They use state-of-art technology such as crop weather models, climatic risk management tools, GIS generated agromet products etc., for framing the advisory bulletins. Also, interaction between the AMFUs and farmers to identify the weather sensitive decisions is promoted under the service through participatory approach. This step fosters a relationship between the IMD, AMFUs, farmers and other stakeholders so that they can identify or diagnose the gaps in weather information and services available from the IMD.
Last weekend M. Rajeevan,secretary at earth science ministry (MoES) declared that block level agromet services were started for 200 blocks and about 4 crore farmers received updates on their mobiles. Soon more states will be added to the pilot project to take it to 300 in numbers .
At present IMD is taking help from states like Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana to prepare experimental block level agroadvisory for farmers.
Presently it is going to be started in 4 states. It is being done to fulfill the dream of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.
The advisory will be relayed twice a week which will help farmers in sowing and management of crops. Blocks will be present in every 12 kms. On basis of the size of block their will be 5-6 blocks. It will first be extended in Maharashtra, Bihar and Orissa and then will start in other states.
At present district level agri advisory is given which is in collaboration with ICAR,Agri-universities and IITs.600 districts are being covered presently. 4 Crore farmers are using the advisory through mobile.