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IMD: Farmer to Get Area-Specified Free Weather Forecast Through SMS

Farmers' requests would be assessed by a team of dedicated staff at IMD, and information would be sent to them by SMS in their local regional languages.

Kritika Madhukar
IMD also provides weekly crop-specific agro-meteorological alerts in vernacular languages to more than 28 million farmers in the country
IMD also provides weekly crop-specific agro-meteorological alerts in vernacular languages to more than 28 million farmers in the country

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is developing a strategy to send farmers free localized medium-range weather forecasts in regional languages via short message service (SMS).

Farmers from all around the country can call a dedicated hotline to get weather information for their village or block for the next five days, including precipitation, temperature, humidity, and wind speed.

Customized information on weather occurrences at the regional level on demand, according to M Ravichandran, secretary of the ministry of earth sciences, would aid farmers in planning agricultural activities such as fertilizer and other input use, irrigation, and so on. The same phone number can also be used to request information about local weather forecasts.

"Since a huge percentage of farmers do not have smartphones (via which they may obtain weather-related information), the existing system of issuing alerts is more district-specific and voluntary," Ravichandran told FE. The information offered will be more tailored to the farming industry, making it more relevant to farmers.

Currently, a smartphone app called 'Meghdoot', developed by IMD, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), delivers district-specific agricultural warnings in English and local languages.

At the district level, IMD has installed about 200 agro-automatic weather stations that generate data on rainfall, temperature, humidity, and wind speed. 

In partnership with state agricultural universities and affiliated institutes of ICAR, which falls under the agriculture ministry, the met department is also giving district-level weather forecasts twice a week under the Gramin Krishi Mausam Seva.

Rainfall, temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, and clouds are all included in the district-level weather forecast for the next five days.

IMD also provides weekly crop-specific agro-meteorological alerts in vernacular languages to more than 28 million farmers in the country through various communication tools such as SMS, interactive voice response using the agriculture ministry's Kisan portal, and through private organizations such as IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited, Reliance Foundation, and Mahindra Samriddhi under the public-private partnership model.

Agromet advisories, according to an agriculture ministry official, assist farmers in making day-to-day agricultural decisions. They can then arrange input resources at the farm level in the event of harsh weather, so assisting in increasing agricultural yield.

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