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Timely weather info to improve farm incomes

Jan 30, 2013

In India, where agriculture is still largely dependent on the vagaries of nature, agromet advisories can aid in raising a farmer’s income, say experts at a TERI-organised conference on agriculture and climate change.

Weather forecasts are helping ensure that farmers make informed decisions to get the best from their investments and hard work, scientists emphasized at a conference organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), as part of its annual global conclave, the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), taking place in New Delhi.

With India still primarily an agricultural country, its economy (despite the growth of the tertiary sectors) is still largely influenced by what comes from the farm. Weather remains one of the most important factors determining success or failure of agricultural production in India as elsewhere in South Asia.

Weather forecast can help minimise farm losses through proper management of agricultural operations, opined experts during a meeting at the International Conference on Agriculture and Climate Change, in New Delhi.

Dr Ananta Vashisth, a Senior Agricultural Physics Scientist  from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute highlighted the importance of weather forecast for farmers, iterating that “the loses in the crop production can be reduced by adopting proper crop management practices with the help of timely and accurate weather forecasts.

Stressing on the significance of the agriculture-related information on weather, Dr Vashisth said Agromet Advisories that provide agro-meteorological information can help farmers in better crop management.

According to Vashisth weather forecast helps in increasing the economic benefit to the farmers by helping them in practicing suitable management techniques with proper advice on weather conditions.

The weather forecast based agromet advisory bulletin contains information on crop management which is based on weather forecast and gives warning to farmers much in advance regarding variations in rainfall, in its amount and other weather factors including valuable information on pests and diseases.

Based on this information, a farmer is better geared to decide about his choice on crop management including appropriate time for sowing, wedding, and harvesting and fertiliser application.

Nisha Mendiratta from Climate Change Programme Division, Department of Science and Technology, said that productivity of most crops would decrease due to increase in temperature and decrease in water availability, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plains.

She also stressed on the improved use of available resources to adapt to the climate change.

Sanjeev P Unhale, secretary of the Aurangabad-based Dilasa Janvikas Pratishthan said that the constant variability in rainfall patterns is affecting the agrarian structure, especially in drought prone regions like Marathwada. He added  that watershed development programmes have helped mitigate risks from droughts in a drought-prone area like the Marathwada. He said the need of the hour was to undertake a climate change literacy drive with the help of farmers’ organizations and village communities.

Rais Akhtar, an academician said that the impact of climate change on the South Asian countries is likely to be more severe than other geographical regions.

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