India to set up 550 more weather stations to help farmers

June 4th, 2008 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) India will set up 550 additional Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and 1,350 automatic rain gauge (ARG) stations to provide district level agricultural met advisory to millions of farmers. Inaugurating the district level agro-met advisory service (DASS), Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said this will help farmers to take advantage of benevolent weather and minimise the crop damage due to worst weather conditions.

Sibal said despite considerable technological advancement and improved irrigation facilities, Indian agriculture continues to depend on fluctuating weather conditions.

“Hence, there is need to have a system which can help farmers to take advantage of benevolent weather and minimize the adverse impact of malevolent weather,” Sibal said.

The new system will refine the weather forecast generated at district scale and support the support the crop planning. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has a network of 125 automatic weather stations (AWS) and a large number of manual observatories.

“The IMD is in the process of setting up 550 additional AWS and 1,350 ARG stations in the first phase of its modernization plan. With this, every district in the country will have at least one AWS and two ARG stations,” the minister said.

In addition, a network of 55 Doppler Weather Radar has been planned. Of this, 12 are to be commissioned in the first phase.

The authorities said the DASS will start its operation in collaboration with agricultural universities across the country and provide specific advisories about their crops.

IMD said that farmers were currently provided only weather forecasts. The agro advisory will include inputs like which crop is good at what time and what farmers of a district should do according to the weather pattern.

Authorities said the information would be disseminated through advisory centres, Kisan Vikas Kendras and agricultural universities.

Sibal said a mechanism has also been developed to obtain feedback from the farmers on quality of weather forecast, relevance and content of agro-met advisory and effectiveness of information dissemination system.

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