STATES

Agro-advisory soon for farmers in Odisha villages

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: If things go as per plan, farmers in Odisha will be able to avail themselves of agro-advisory services in their villages. A new project ‘village-level agro-advisory service based on village-level forecast’ will be implemented for the purpose in the State from this year. 

The project will be jointly implemented by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Bhubaneswar, with support from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) under the All India Coordinated Research Project on Agrometeorology (AICRPM)-National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA). 

“The main objective of the project is to take the agro-advisory service and crop weather forecasting to micro-level and make it available for farmers in villages which at present is limited to block-level,” said OUAT agrometeorologist Tushar Ranjan Mohanty. He said the new initiative, if successful, will make the agro-advisory more accurate and useful for farmers as the current agro-advisory, being given at block level for a radius of around 12-20 km now, will be provided at villages within a radius of 3 km. 

Initially, the project will be implemented on a pilot basis at a village in Balianta block of Khurda. The IMD will share village-level weather forecast data with OUAT agrometeorology officials for the implementation of the project. Based on the village-level forecast received from the IMD, the ICAR and OUAT will issue village-level agro-advisory to farmers. “We have proposed names of two to three villages in Balianta block to the IMD for the purpose. The project will be piloted once the village is finalised,” Mohanty said. 

During the pilot project, the farmers of the village will be provided agro-advisory through WhatsApp or any other feasible messaging platform. The advisory will include weather forecast, weather-sensitive farm operations, a suitable time for pesticide and fertiliser application among others. The pilot project will continue for a period of five years from 2021 during which they will study the impact of the village-level agro-advisory service and how it is benefiting farmers.

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