Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Science & Technology
13-February-2019 19:50 IST
Union Science & Technology Minister to inaugurate North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC) at Dharwad

Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) KSNDMC and University of Agriculture Sciences, Dharwad have decided to create synergies in the institutional efforts by establishing a new Center of IMD called “North Karnataka Agromet Forecasting and Research Centre (NKAFC)” at University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad. This centre will act as a centre of excellence with multi functions from observations, forecast, research and capacity building in Agro-Meteorological services in Karnataka state to be rendered jointly with the state government machinery at the district level.

The new centre ‘NKAFC’ at University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, in the presence of Shri Pralhad Joshi, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Dharwad on 14th February, 2019 at 2.30 PM.

India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences in collaboration with Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and State Agriculture Universities (SAUs) through its Agro-meteorological Advisory Service (AAS) network provides relevant meteorological information to help farmers make the most efficient use of natural resources, with the aim of improving agricultural production; both in quantity and quality; and reduce the input cost to enhance the farmer’s income.

Meteorological Centre (MC) at Bangalore is maintaining the observational network in Karnataka State which includes surface and Agromet observatories, Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and Automatic Rain Gauges (ARGs), Doppler weather radar (DWR) for use in monitoring weather conditions and extremes.  MC Bangalore is providing value added quantitative weather forecast up to 5 days for seven weather parameters viz., rainfall, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and cloudiness for all districts of Karnataka. Apart from these, MC Bangalore also issues qualitative district and sub-divisional forecasts and severe weather warning for next five days. Nowcast on severe weather warning is also issued valid for next three hours.

Based on the weather forecast, the expert Panel at each of 10 Agromet Field Units (AMFUs) in Karnataka located at different SAUs, prepare the agromet advisories twice a week (Tuesday and Friday) for all districts and communicate to the farming community, district and state level planners through multi-channel system e.g. radio, television & print media; SMS on mobile phones, internet etc. At present around 5 lakhs farmers receive the Agromet Advisories through SMS directly in the State of Karnataka. A mechanism is also set up to obtain feedback from the farmers on quality of Agromet advisory.

Due to rise in frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climatic events such as droughts, floods, cyclones, hailstorms, heat stress (including unpredictable change in pest and disease load in recent years) under changing climate, farmers and farming systems become more vulnerable and becomes prominent in rainfed conditions like Karnataka. More than 80% of Indian farmers are marginal and small farmers with poor coping capacity. Hence the need is to generate weather information at block / panchayat level tailored to requirement of specific farming system / cluster of farmers.

The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) of Government of Karnataka has established a dense network of AWS and ARG to monitor the weather at micro level and provide weather information to public and farmers of Karnataka. IMD and KSNDMC have joined the hands to generate improved block level weather forecast.

IMD and ICAR are jointly setting up District Agro-meteorological Units (DAMUs) at KVKs to support block level agromet advisory using block level forecast. 12 DAMUs will be established in Karnataka districts by March 2019 and in remaining 11 districts by March 2020. These DAMUs will be equipped with one AWS, two manpower viz. one subject matter specialist and one agromet observer to help the expert panel at KVK in addition to the support of state government machinery at the district level.