IIT Kharagpur offers weather advisories to farmers for better crop management
Kharagpur (West Bengal)/IBNS: In collaboration with India Meteorological Department (IMD), IIT Kharagpur, is disseminating weather based agro-advisory to farmers for improving agricultural production in highly variable weather conditions.
This advanced weather prediction system is expected to help farmers plan agricultural production, thus reducing uncertainties and risks, the institute said in a recent release.
Sponsored by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the two projects - ‘Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa’ and ‘Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Agrometeorology & Land based Observations’ - provide information to farmers to minimize the climatic risk affecting agricultural production and cut down losses.
“The agro-advisory indicating crop and variety selection, sowing/planting time, land preparation, input management, harvest, etc are prepared based on future weather and land characteristics of specific location,” said Prof. Dilip Kumar Swain, from the Dept. of Agricultural & Food Engineering at IIT Kharagpur.
Yield forecasting of crops such as rice, mustard and potato are done at the beginning of sowing/planting, during cropping season and before crop harvest for different districts of West Bengal.
Farmers are offered guidance on their mobile phones, based on a five-day weather forecast, on input management such as fertilizer, irrigation, and pesticide application every week throughout the cropping season.
The advisory is sent in local language to about three lakh farmers of five districts (West Medinipur, Jharagram, Bankura, Birbhum, and Purulia) in West Bengal, according to the release.
Said Prof. V K Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, “Besides sending the agro-advisory, we also conduct training and awareness programmes regularly in villages on organic farming, vermicomposting, hydroponics, integrated farming, advanced production technology, etc.”