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Harnessing climate info for better yield

 

Deccan Herald, New Delhi, 8th April, 2013
 
                                                                                                                            Yatish Kumar G D, Bangalore 
 
UAS project gains national recognition
 
The University of Agricultural Sciences has succeeded in increasing the farm yield by passing on crucial weather data to farmers.
 
The project, a brainchild of Dr M B Rajegowda, Head of the Department of Agrometerology, received support from the National Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture of the Union Government. 
 
Launched at Rajanukunte in 2003, the project came to fruition in 2007. 
 
Under the project, farmers are encouraged to modify crop pattern in tune with prevailing climate conditions. Agriculture scientists educate the farmers on rain projection and disseminate information on appropriate technology, selection of seeds, pest control measures and even marketing of the produce. 
 
Though the university has an extension division to approach farmers, scientists themselves went to the fields since  it was felt that direct interaction with farmers would go a long way. The crops involved in the project have been insured and the State government has an understanding with eight insurance companies for the purpose. 
 
The insurance companies will have to pay at least the investment in the event of crop failure. According to scientists, the impact of climate on crop loss needs to be factored in before arriving at the final compensation.
 
“Our farmers do not have an iota of knowledge on climate. Under such circumstances, scientists will have to be directly involved in the project. Experiments of this nature have been successful in the US. Farmers have direct access to climate information and accordingly change crop pattern. They are getting  solutions for their problems on their emails,” Dr Rajegowda said.
 
He said scientists had to be sent to the fields since there was remote possibility of farmers applying climate information for their advantage.
 
Buoyed by the success, the project has now been extended to Nayanahalli and Puttenahalli in Chikkaballapur taluk. More than 150 farmers in these villages now modify their cropping pattern on the basis of the climate input. 
 
The Union government has directed to implement the project in four states on a pilot basis.
 
Farmers would stand to gain if Raitha Samparka Kendras (farmers contact centres) set up at hoblis are strengthened  to disseminate climate information.