Weather app boon for Jharkhand farmers
A mobile application developed by Ranchi-based Birsa Agricultural University, which provides weather and agriculture-related information in local dialect at panchayat level, is expected to benefit 38 lakh farmers of Jharkhand, according to officials.
The app, called Birsa Weather Forecast, has been developed jointly by the university and the Pune and Calcutta units of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing under the project Digitally Inclusive and Smart Community (DISC). The app will provide information to farmers within a radius of 4km in Nagpuri (local dialect), apart from in English and Hindi.
“This would be the first such app in the country giving out weather information along with other parameters beneficial for farmers at the panchayat level. A similar app had been developed in Karnataka but the information is given till the block level,” said K. J Ramesh, former director-general of India Meteorological Department (IMD) and an adviser to the ministry of earth sciences.
The app Havaamana Krishi in Karnataka was developed in 2017 by University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad.
“The Birsa Weather Forecast app was successfully launched recently. Under the project, daily forecast is being provided for all 4,400 panchayats in the state on 14 parameters like rainfall, maximum and minimum temperature, dew point temperature, soil temperature, soil moisture, surface runoff, sub-surface runoff, solar radiation at ground surface, total cloud cover, maximum and minimum relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction. Weather-based agriculture advisories (need-based) are also provided in Hindi, English and Nagpuri,” said Basant K. Jha, assistant professor and in-charge of the DISC project at the university.
Farmers can download the app from Google Play Store or download the information from www.bau-eagriculture.com/weather.
“In the app, the farmers can select their district, block, panchayat and also select information for daily or hourly basis. Automatic agro-advisory will be generated for 31 crops (grown mainly in Jharkhand) in three languages. Based on the feedback of farmers, we along with CDAC authorities, will also upgrade the app whenever needed and make it more need-based for different farmers,” Jha said.
Till now, farmers had to be dependent on weather information provided by IMD Ranchi and the university at the district level but there were problems in dissemination of information at the village and panchayat levels, which led to loss of crops.
Deputy director (agriculture), Jharkhand, Mukesh Sinha said block and district-level agriculture officers have been directed to ensure that information is disseminated to farmers in areas where network problems crop up.
“Almost all the panchayats have mobile Internet connectivity and the farmers also possess smart phones. However, in case of connectivity issues, the block-level agriculture officers will disseminate the information through text message,” said Sinha.