Dry land farmers live dangerously. Their entire income is often dependent on a single season – the unpredictable Indian monsoon. A failed crop affects not just these farmers but also has dire implications for the landless poor. Being dependent on farmers and their ability to provide earning opportunities, an uncooperative climate means migration and disrupted families for them.
But in India’s monsoon-driven weather system, local agro-meteorological conditions, especially rainfall, vary even within a kilometre; and distantly located weather stations at taluka places are not able to provide accurate data that can generate locale-specific knowledge. Also, most indigenous knowledge about weather predictions based on observing surrounding flora and fauna, is now lost.
The aim of the Agro-meteorology component of WOTR’s Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) project is to improve agriculture productivity despite variations in local weather conditions.
Automated Weather Stations (AWS) have been installed in the project villages and simultaneously, interested youth in the villages have been trained to read the met-data and display them on daily weather information boards installed at prominent places in the villages. This helps people be informed about local weather conditions like rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind speed etc.
There is also an automated online platform that uniquely combines locale-specific Met-advisories and Agro-advisories that provide timely information to farmers so that they can plan their agricultural activities accordingly.
WOTR has also tied up with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for regular 3 day weather updates, received online, which are relayed to the field through SMS and word of mouth too. This is indeed an instance of application of advanced technology to solve issues in remote villages.
Thus armed with local weather data, the local community understands and uses weather information for agriculture planning and management. WOTR’s Agro met stations empower through knowledge generation at the local level to regenerate rural capacities and build resilience to climate change.