Roving Seminars - India
Banner for Indian Seminars in local language (Telugu).
Nine Roving Seminars on Weather, Climate and Farmers were organized during October – December 2007 in nine villages in Andhra Pradesh, India. The host institution Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University provided the infrastructure facilities at its District Agricultural Advisory and Transfer of Technology Centres and the staff of these centers cooperated very well in successful organization of these seminars. In addition, the host farmers of the Rural Agricultural Work Experience Programme (RAWEP – an apprentice training programme of final year B.Sc (Ag.) and B.Sc (Horticulture) students of the host University) have extended wonderful co-operation in selection of farmers, organization of the event. The staff of Government Departments of agricultural have also participated and involved at every stage in these seminars.
The nine seminars were organized in Chandur and Yemmangandla villages of Mehboobnagar district; Loddipally and Vuyyalawada villages of Kurnool district; Siddaramapuram and Krishnamreddipally villages of Ananthapur District ; Dendulur and Gopannapalem villages of West Godavari district; and Kandukur village in Ranga Reddy district. The number of farmers attending each seminar ranged from 70 to 95. The women farmers were given lecture modules separately (suitable to their farm activities involving weather) as Andhra Pradesh women farmers traditionally do not participate along with men farmers in seminars.
The seminars were intended to sensitize the farmers about the weather and climate information and their application in operational farm management.
The objectives of these seminars are:
To make farmers become more self reliant in dealing with weather and climate issues as the same affect agricultural production on their farms.
To secure farmer self reliance, through helping them better informed about effective weather / climate risk management by sustainable use of natural resources for agricultural production.
Lectures in local language (Telugu - click here for an example) were given on the following aspects:
- Introduction to weather and climate
- Introduction of terminologies used in weather / climate forecasting.
- Use of short term weather forecasting in agricultural operations.
- Introduction to clouds, weather map, etc.
- Introduction to seasonal climate patterns.
- Climate risk in production and drought alerts in different crops.
- Introduction to better risk management.
- Introduction to measurement of weather elements.
- Planning cropping strategy, water requirements, etc.
- Video / slide show on weather / climate disasters and their management.
- Display of wall posters, laminated diagrams on weather and climate.
During each seminar the farmers were shown / given the daily weather data for the last 30 days. This data was collected from the daily newspapers available in the villages where the seminar is being organized after pasting same in front of them a day before the event. After showing this huge and valuable information on weather that is available in their own village then the farmers responded with unparalleled enthusiasm to do the same on their own for their and own farm as also community benefits. Some farmers agreed to copy/write the weather information available daily on Television and Radio and transmit / exchange the same with other farmers. This operational agrometeorological tool “DVV (Dinasari Vatavaranam- Vyasayam)” involves no money because the newspapers are bought by villagers / farmers for learning and enlightening themselves on several issues. Also, in India and Andhra Pradesh newspapers are very inexpensive and Television and Radio are available in all villages. Based on the trends observed (analysis of weather data) the management options and guidance is made available to the farmers within the hand outs as also the “Vyasaya Panchangams (Agricultural Dairy)“ distributed during these seminars.
The Comparison Concept (CC) takes into account the weather/climate forecast issued in real-time basis, its derived parameters (GDD,HTU, etc.) as the basis for forewarning. These real time forecasts and derived parameters are compared with the scenarios of past seasons or years and a suitable set of common similarities on levels of pests and disease incidence and crop performance are arrived. This information helps to produce future scenarios of occurrence of pests and diseases, crop yield, etc., in addition, to determining the levels of incidence of pests and diseases and projected crop yield in the ongoing season. This concept would be used wherever appropriate and developing thumb rule / dynamic simulation model / empirical model.
1. Chandur Village (Mahbubnagar District)
The first seminar was organized in this village on 30 October, 2007. Farmers were enlightened on the influence of weather/ climate on the cops grown in the village Viz., onion, bengalgram, paddy, redgram etc. The specific issue addressed in this seminar is “Onion- Bengalgram problem”. Interestingly, in this region the onion crop reaches harvest stage in the last week of October during which time bengalgram will be in its peak vegetative stage. At these different phonological stages of their growth, if rain occurs the yield reduction/ loss of onion crop is 75% and if rain has not occurred the yields of bengalgram would be reduced by 50%.So, during this seminar certain agronomic and agrometeorological measures like selection of proper genotypes, soil moisture conservation techniques etc., were suggested.
2. Yemmangandla Village (Mahbubnagar District)
During the seminar on 31 October, 2007 in this village as per the request by the farmers specific issues like method demonstrations on weather based rhizobium culture, vermicompost preparation etc., were organized. Also, a real time method demonstration on use of 2% common salt as spray against the inevitable damage to paddy seeds due to unwanted germination due to rains was organized. A week after this demonstration (virtually paddy was affected by the cyclonic rains on the day of the seminar) farmers informed that their paddy produce was practically safe by adopting this technique.
3. Loddipally village (Kurnool District)
The seminar in this village was organized on 13 November, 2007. The farmers were enlightened on the influence of weather/ climate on crops grown in the region as also on animals because animal rearing fetches nearly 30-40 % of regular monetary income to farmers. A real time method demonstration on sun drying of groundnut pods was organized to protect the kernels from aflotoxins as also to improve the quality of kernels.
4. Vuyyalawada village (Kurnool District)
The seminar in this village was organized on 14 November, 2007. In addition to influence of weather on different crops, a real time method demonstration on influence of slightly warm wind on the incidence of pests and diseases was organized during the seminar in this village. Also, another real time method demonstration on the advantages of weather based top dressing of Nitrogenous fertilizers to prevent air and soil pollution was organized.
5. Siddaramapuram village (Ananthapur District)
The seminar in this village was organized on 28 November, 2007. A striking agricultural practice that was observed in this village was that a farmer had sown redgram with different inter and intra row spacing. Rains received during July-August 2007 were more than normal. As a consequence, the crop sown in sparse densities recorded optimal growth and excessive growth was observed in densely sown areas. The farmer has cut the alternate rows in these densely sown areas where the LAI was more than optimum to achieve optimum yields. This issue was one of the important topics that were covered during the seminar on 28 November, 2007 in this village. Additional information on real time method demonstration on “ Spraying of pesticide in the direction (along the direction ) of wind” was organized.
6. Krishnamreddipally village (Ananthapur District)
The specific issue covered during seminar in this village on 29 November, 2007 was technical knowledge imparted to the farmers on “Growing of sweet orange on red and black soils” in the village. A peculiar weather based problem in this region as also this village was that farmers grow sweet orange on shallow red and deep and ill-drained black soils in the same village/s. The farmers that raised this crop on red soils need 8-10 rains where as the farmers growing on black soils need 2-3 rains during July-August each year. This problem was addressed by suggesting the agrometeorological measures like soil moisture conservation techniques, drainage improving techniques through organic farming etc.
7. Dendulur village (West Godavari District)
A good number of well experienced/ rich / small and marginal farmers attended the seminar on 23 December, 2007 in this village. The farmers in this region store the agricultural produce in different storage and staking structures called “VARI- PURI (Paddy Bins)”. These specific structures protect their agriculture produce from weather risks and uncertainties like cyclonic rains, heavy winds, excessive air humidity etc. Therefore, the specific and additional issues covered during the seminar in this village included weather proof and cost effective storage structures for farm produce. A state of art “VARI PURI” built by a farmer stands technically much taller than any ones imagination. This storage structure not only protects paddy grains and straw from cyclonic rains but also from possible fire, theft problems etc. This wonderful agrometeorological technique must be popularized across the globe.
8. Gopannapalem village (West Godavari District)
Specific issue covered in this seminar on 24 December, 2007 was on “Weather based cultivation of oilpalm”. The oilpalm crop is specially grown in this region for the last 5-6 years. The weather suits to this crop in this region very well and this fact is noticed 6 years ago. A real-time method demonstration on propping of sugarcane crop to protect the crop from cyclonic winds was organized.
9. Ranga Reddy District (Kandukur village)
In this village farmers extensively grow all tropical vegetable crops. During the seminar on 30 December, 2007 method demonstrations on agrometeorological techniques like drought management, rain water harvesting were taught in addition to weather based vegetable crop cultivation.