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ARTICLE : Agromet Advisory Services - Farmers Empowerment
Thursday, 17 May 2012 07:58

Agromet Advisory Services - Farmers Empowerment

Growing uncertainties of weather and climate pose a major threat to food security of the country and thus warrant for farmers empowerment of informed decision in agricultural risk management. Besides the possible impacts of climate change also pose major challenges in agriculture sector in the country. The combination of long-term changes and the greater frequency of extreme weather events are also likely to have adverse impacts on the food production in the coming decades. India Meteorological Department has taken major initiative to implement innovative and state of art technologies which are essential to address the above mentioned issues of weather and climate on Indian agriculture  and also to realize the present day needs of the farmers of the country and also to meet the demands of the poorer section of the country. India Meteorological Department (IMD) started Integrated Agro-Meteorological Advisory Service (IAAS) in the country for the benefits of farmers. Agro-meteorological service rendered by IMD, Ministry of Earth Sciences is an innovative step to contribute to weather information based crop/livestock management strategies and operations dedicated to enhancing crop production by providing real time crop and location specific agromet services with outreach to village level. This indeed has a potential to change the face of India in terms of food security and poverty alleviation.

The IAAS provides a very special kind of inputs to the farmer as advisory bulletin. It   has made a tremendous difference to the agriculture production by taking the advantage of benevolent weather and minimizes the adverse impact of malevolent weather. IMD launched the scheme IAAS in the country  in collaboration with different organisations/institutes/stakeholders from 1st April 2007 for weather wise farm management. Under IAAS, a mechanism was developed to integrate weather forecast, climatic and agro-meteorological information to prepare agro-advisories which contribute significantly to enhance farm productivity and trying to solve the food security in India.

Structure of IAAS

This project is implemented through five tier structure to set up different components of the service spectrum. It includes meteorological (weather observing & forecasting), agricultural (identifying weather sensitive stress & preparing suitable advisory using weather forecast), extension (two way communication with user) and information dissemination (Media, Information Technology, Telecom) agencies.

Weather Forecast –Seven Parametres

From 1 June, 2008 quantitative district level weather forecast up to 5 days is issued. The product comprises of quantitative forecasts for 7 weather parameters viz., rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and cloudiness. In addition, weekly cumulative rainfall forecast is also provided. IMD, New Delhi generates these products using Multi Model Ensemble technique based on forecast products available from number models of India and other countries. The products were disseminated to Regional Meteorological Centres and Meteorological Centres of IMD located in different states.These products after value addition using synoptic interpretation of model output are communicated to 130 Agro Met Field Units (AMFUs) co-located with State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), institutes of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) etc., for preparation of district level agro-met advisories twice a week i.e. Tuesday and Friday.

AAS Bulletins at Different Level

The Agromet Advisory Bulletins are issued at district, state and national levels. The district level bulletins are issued by AMFUs and include crop specific advisories including field crops, horticultural crops and livestock. The State Level bulletin jointly prepared by State Meteorological Centre of IMD and AMFUs is a composite of district bulletins helping to identify the distressed districts of the state as well as plan the supply of appropriate farm inputs such as seeds, irrigation water, fertilizer, pesticides etc. It forms a significant input to the State level weekly Crop Weather Watch Group (CWWG) meeting and used by state government line function departments viz: Fertilizer industry, Pesticide industry, Irrigation Department, Seed Corporation, Transport and other organizations which provide inputs in agriculture. National Agromet Advisory Bulletins are prepared by National Agromet Advisory Service Centre, Division of Agriculture Meteorology, IMD, Pune, using inputs from various states.  This bulletin helps identify stress on various crops for different regions of the country and suitably incorporate advisories.

Ministry of Agriculture is prime user of these bulletins, as important decisions are taken in weekly Crop Weather Watch Group meetings steered by Ministry of Agriculture at national level. The bulletins are also used by a large number of other agencies including fertilizer, pesticide industries. At present bulletins are being issued twice in a week i.e., Tuesday and Friday and reach 23 state and 560 district level centres.

District-specific medium-term forecast information and advisories help to maximize output and avert crop damage or loss. It also helps growers anticipate and plan for pesticide applications, irrigation scheduling, disease and pest outbreaks and many more weather related agriculture-specific operations. Such operations include cultivar selection, their dates of sowing/planting, dates of intercultural operations, dates of harvesting and also performing post harvest operations. Agromet advisories help increase profits by consistently delivering actionable weather information, analysis and decision support for farming situations such as: to manage pests through forecast of relative humidity, temperature and wind; manage irrigation through rainfall & temperature forecasts; protect crop from thermal stress through forecasting of extreme temperature etc.

A typical Agromet Advisory Bulletin enables farmers to reap benefits of benevolent weather and minimize or mitigate the impacts of adverse weather are:


  • District specific weather forecast, in quantitative terms, for next 5 days for weather parameters like rainfall, cloud, maximum/minimum temperature, wind speed/direction and relative humidity, including forewarning of hazardous weather events (cyclone, hailstorm, heat/cold waves, drought and flood etc) likely to cause stress on standing crop and suggestions to protect the crop from them.


  • Weather forecast based information on soil moisture status and guidance for application of irrigation, fertilizer and herbicides etc.


  • Advisories on dates of sowing/planting and suitability of carrying out intercultural operations covering the entire crop spectrum from pre-sowing to post harvest to guide farmer in his day–to-day cultural operations.


  • Weather forecast based forewarning system for major pests and diseases of principal crops and advises on plant protection measures.


  • Propagation of techniques for manipulation of crop’s microclimate e.g. shading, mulching, other surface modification, shelter belt, frost protection etc. to protect crops under stressed conditions.


  • Reducing contribution of agricultural production system to global warming and environment degradation through judicious management of land, water and farm inputs, particularly pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.


  • Advisory for livestock on health, shelter and nutrition.


The support on above is rendered through preparing district specific agrometeorological advisory bulletins which are tailored to meet the farmers’ need and are made relevant to his decision making processes. The suggested advisories generally alter actions in a way that improves outcomes as it contains advice on farm management actions aiming to take advantage of good weather and mitigate the stress on crop/livestock. The bulletins are encoded in a format and language which is easy to comprehend by the farmer. The agrometeorologists first interpret the immediate past weather and the forecast for next 5 days and translate it into layman’s terms so that the farmers can understand it. They use state-of-art technology such as crop weather models, climatic risk management tools, GIS generated agromet products etc., for framing the advisory bulletins. Also, interaction between the AMFUs and farmers to identify the weather sensitive decisions is promoted under the service through participatory approach. This step fosters a relationship between the IMD, AMFUs, farmers and other stakeholders so that they can identify or diagnose the gaps in weather information and services available from the IMD.