Under its agro-meteorological advisory services programme, the Indian Meteorological Department provides real time crop and location specific agromet services to farmers with outreach up to village level.
How are agro-meteorological advisories prepared?
The Indian Meteorological Department has divided the land area of India into grids of 22 km scale for weather forecasts. Forecasts are done for each of these grids up to five days in advance. Then IMD collects actual weather data from different observatories (Surface, Agro-met, Automatic Weather stations (AWS), Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG)) and matches them with the forecasts, to generate the Agro Meteorological advisories.
How the advisories reach farmers?
Agro meteorological Advisory Services (AAS) bulletins are prepared once in two weeks, and issued to farmers through multimedia channels and SMS under the Gramin Krishi Mausam Seva (GKMS). As of February 2017, over 24.5 million farmers directly subscribe to SMS based AAS bulletins. Subscriptions are free of cost.
How are the advisories useful for the farmers?
The advisories are used for taking critical decision on farm operations based on weather. As per the recent National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) report, the farmers are using them for,
i) Management of sowing (Delayed onset of rains)
ii) Changing crop variety (Delay in rainfall)
iii) Spraying Pesticides for disease control (occurrence of rainfall)
iv) Managing Irrigation (Heavy rainfall Forecast)
How reliable have the advisories proved to be?
According to a survey by the government, more than 93% of farmers found the agriculture specific forecasts of IMD to be reliable. 95% of the farmers also say that forecasts of IMD have improved during the last 2-4 years.
What are the outcomes of the implementation of Gramin Krishi Mausam Seva (GKMS) programme?
With the implementation of District Level Agro meteorological Advisory services, India has seen improved agriculture performance in the rain fed farming (Covers 60% of arable land).
A survey has shown a 25% increase in net income for farmers using the Gramin Krishi Mausam Seva (GKMS) services. The study suggests that GKMS has the potential to generating up to Rs.3.3 lakh crores more, on the 4-principal crops alone, when Agro-Meteorological advisory is fully utilized by 90.3 million dependent households.
“Potential Annual Economic profit by using GKMS by 24% of the community cultivating 4-principle crops (wheat; paddy; sugarcane; cotton) in 2010 was assessed at Rs. 38,463 Crores (when 2.0 million farmers were subscribed to SMS service), the annual profit rose to Rs.42,000 Crores in 2015 (11.5 million farmers have been subscribed to SMS service),“ the government said in a statement.