Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed an advanced weather forecast system to help farmers in agricultural activities and reduce climatic risks, an official said on Saturday. The institute in collaboration with the India Meteorological Department started offering an agro-advisory to cultivators to improve their production in different weather conditions, the IIT-KGP spokesperson said.
Sponsored by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, two projects – ‘Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa’ and ‘Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agrometeorology and Land- based observations’ – provide weather information to farmers to improve their economic return, the official said.
“The agro-advisory offers crop selection, planting time, land preparation, input management and yield. It is based on future weather and land characteristics of a specific location,” agricultural and food engineering department’s professor Dilip Kumar Swain said.
Farmers get awareness on managing inputs such as fertiliser, irrigation and pesticide 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 sent to farmers’ cell phones, he said.
The advisory is being sent in Bengali to about three lakh farmers of West Medinipur, Jhargram, Bankura, Birbhum,
and Purulia in West Bengal. Using the advisory, they can protect their crop from extreme weather events and reduce production cost by need- based irrigation, fertiliser and pesticide applications, the professor said.
IIT Kharagpur director professor Virendra Kumar Tewari said, “Besides sending the agro-advisory, we also conduct
training and awareness programmes regularly in villages on organic and integrated farming and advanced production technology for sustainable agricultural growth.”