200 Agro-Automatic Weather Stations to come up for farmers’ benefit

New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has undertaken installation of Agro-Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) at 200 places to provide exact weather forecast to people, especially farmers, the Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

The 200 Agro-AWS installations were done at District Agromet Units (DAMUs) located in the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) network, to augment block level Agromet Advisory Services (AAS) under the Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa (GKMS) scheme, Union Minister of State Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

Weather-based operational AAS viz GKMS scheme, rendered by the IMD jointly with the ICAR and state Agricultural Universities, is a step towards weather-based crop and livestock management strategies and operations for the benefit of farming community in the country, he said.

Under the scheme, medium range weather forecast at district and block level is generated and based on the forecast, agromet advisories are prepared and communicated by the Agromet Field Units (AMFUs) co-located with state Agricultural Universities, and DAMUs at KVKs to the farmers on every Tuesday and Friday.

These Agromet Advisories help farmers to take decision on day-to-day agricultural operations, which can further optimise the application of input resources at farm level during deficient rainfall situation and extreme weather events to reduce monetary loss and maximise crop yield.

The IMD also monitors rainfall situation & weather aberrations and issues alerts and warnings to the farmers from time to time under the GKMS scheme. SMS-based alerts and warning for extreme weather events, along with suitable remedial measures, are issued to take timely operations by the farmers. Such alerts and warnings are also shared with state Agriculture Departments for the effective management of calamities.

Agromet Advisories are communicated to the farmers through multi-channel dissemination system like print and electronic media, Doordarshan, radio, internet etc. including SMS using mobile phones through Kisan Portal launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and also through private companies under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

At present, 43.37 million farmers in the country receive the Agromet Advisories through SMS directly. KVKs of the ICAR have also given link to the respective district level advisory in their web portal, the Minister said.

Mobile App ‘Meghdoot’ has also been launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciences to help the farmers to get the weather information including alerts and related Agromet Advisories specific to their districts, he added.