Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Government of Maharashtra's meeting on Agro-Weather Forecasting system

Akshay Deoras (left) with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (right) at Mantralaya, Mumbai on 26th May 2015

Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis chaired a meeting on Maharashtra's Agro-Weather forecasting system on Tuesday, 26th May 2015. The meeting was held at Chief Minister's Committee room in Mantralaya, Mumbai and was attended by officials from Department of Agriculture, IMD AgriMet (Pune), Insurance firms, private weather forecasters and top bureaucrats.

METD WEATHER's Akshay Deoras was specially invited to give a presentation on how state's agro-weather forecasting system can be improved. He was also the initiator of this meeting as in December 2014, he had sent a letter to the Hon'ble Chief Minister on the present state of Maharashtra's Agro-Weather forecasting system.

Letter to Hon'ble CM dated 1st December 2015

He suggested four goals to the government to make Maharashtra's agriculture Weather-Ready. The four goals (briefly explained below) are -

1) Avoid losses by minimising sowing failures in 2015 Kharif Season 

 This can be done by -
* Increasing Agro-Weather literacy in the state.
* Making people aware of the existing schemes of IMD Agro Advisory Services through  advertisements in newspapers, radio etc.
 (At present only 10 lac farmers in Maharashtra receive agro-weather advisories through SMS)
 * More related suggestions like Krishi Jagriti Abhiyaan and their approach were suggested in details in the meeting*

2) Agro-Automatic Weather Stations and Agro-Weather advisories 

There was a technical discussion session on this. Agro-Weather advisories need to be simple in words (impact based) and easily understandable. Also there is a need to widely popularise them through media.

3) Developing Climate Smart Villages

Such villages will be having ideal state of agro-weather forecasting system and would serve as examples for other villages of India to follow.

4) Implementing an Action plan on Climate Change 

Maharashtra doesn't have an action plan on Climate Change. Given the projected changes in temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events in the years to come, there is a strong need of implementing an action plan on Climate Change.


Following are the announcements done by Honb'e Chief Minister's (dated 27th May 2015, source CMO Twitter)

1) CM directed to give this forecast in simple language so that farmers get a clear message to plan their schedule likewise
2) CM also asked to widely publicise these predictions in every possible media,including Marathi Channels, to inform farmers
3) We are sending 10 lakh SMS of predictions advisories to farmers, now. We will extend this service to 50 lakh farmers: CM 
4) We are planning to install 2059 weather stations in future to give accurate predictions at Gram Panchayat level: CM 
5) This year, we are implementing Satellite based Crop Insurance on pilot basis in 500 villages: CM 
6) If it succeeds, it will be 1st of its kind project in the entire country; we will then implement it in other villages too: CM 
7) We rescheduled agricultural loans from 3 to 5yrs with no interest on 1st yr & only 6% interest for 2nd yr; more farmers will apply for fresh loans :CM
8) Seeds and fertilizers are available more than the requirement. Supply of fertilizers from GoI is 21% more than last year: CM 
9) We have permitted non-agricultural credit co-operative societies to give 20% of their loans for agriculture sector: CM
10) Setup Kiosks/LEDs in villages which will relay non stop weather forecasts

More information- * News in Indian Express, The Asian Age , Economic Times 

* News in Loksatta Newspaper, Nagpur dated 30th May 2015

Link of Hon'ble CM's speech during state level kharif crop preparation and planning review meeting in Mumbai dated 27th May 2015.


* As per the idea suggested, Agriculture Department of Government of Maharashtra gave below advertisement in various farmer newspapers of Maharashtra such as Sakal Agrowon (Dated 7th June 2015). This advertisement is in marathi language and gives details of IMD Agrimet's Agro-Advisory SMS service. It also gives the details of how to subscribe to this service. 

* Around 10,000 officials at the village level in Maharashtra have been given the task of obtaining the mobile numbers of farmers for the SMS advisories. Each official has been asked to collect 500 mobile numbers. 

* For the first time in many areas, Krishi Mitras have started receiving SMS updates on weather from Agriculture Department, Pune

12th June 2015: Discussion on the present monsoon situation

* Krishi Jagriti Saptaha 

Advertisement of Krishi Jagriti Saptaha.
Source- CMO, Maharashtra Facebook 

For the first time in the history of Maharashtra, farmer awareness week (Krishi Jagriti Saptaha) was celebrated between 1st and 7th July 2015. Various officials went to villages of Maharashtra and educated the farmers about various aspects of agriculture, agro-weather. A special drive of obtaining mobile numbers (for SMS agro-advisories) from farmers was undertaken in this week. 
Before this week, about 13.29 lac farmers were subscribed. But during this week, additional 10 lac farmers subscribed and hence as of mid July, around 23 lac farmers of Maharashtra are subscribed to this service.  Now, Maharashtra tops the list of SMS subscribers in India. 

The target of 50 lac farmer subscribers was reached in January 2016. 

** AS OF 16TH MARCH 2016, 50.63 farmers (in total) are subscribed to this SMS service**

Latest news on setting up of Automatic Weather Station-

Number of SMS advisories sent in various states of India through mKisan portal between 26th May 2015 and 16th March 2016.
Maharashtra tops the list by a huge margin.
Source: mKisan Portal

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