New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) Delegates from India and abroad today began discussions on strengthening weather forecast to farmers to help them become less vulnerable to natural disasters.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) is hosting the three-day international workshop on 'Agrometeorological Risk Management: Challenges and Opportunities' at the Vigyan Bhavan.
Seventy-eight countries have sent as many as 160 officials to the conference, which takes place at a time when Indian farmers are at risk of crop failures due to climatic hazards besides economic problems.
Participants said technology should be utilised to help the farming community reeling under distress. Demands were also raised for insurance coverage based on weather parameters.
''Adverse weather incidents have underlined the need for providing financial security to farmers,'' said Prof. V L Chopa, a member of the Planning Commission, who inaugurated the workshop.
Weather-based insurance schemes, however, require enforcement of strict standards of meteorological observation in the agricultural sector.
Greater cooperation has been sought between research and operational wings of meteorological and agricultural institutions like IMD, Agriculture Ministry and Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
''The greatest challenge is to provide credible weather forecast to farmers. Weather inputs should go directly to farmers to save them from dangerous situations,'' said Mr P S Goel, Secretary (Ministry of Earth Sciences).
The workshop is followed by the 14th session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organisation, the specialised wing of the United Nations.
According to the Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Ministry, the government will extend the reach of weather forecast to farmers in all 600 districts of the country within the next 5-6 years. Presently, only 127 zones across the country have the facility but these do not include the remotest areas.
UNI FZ RL BS1906