Over 15 lakh messages sent in two months via SMS portal
Tamil Nadu farmers, who are “quite inquisitive” to receive information on a host of subjects including agro-meteorology through short message service (SMS) under the Kisan SMS portal, have received over 15 lakh messages in two months, accounting for 50 per cent of messages sent through the portal.
In respect of the State, a large number of queries related to agricultural commodity prices. As on Wednesday, 2.8 lakh farmers in the country received messages through the portal (http://farmer.gov.in/).
Giving details of his department’s participation in the Kisal portal programme, L.S. Rathore, Director General of Meteorology, told reporters at the office of the Regional Meteorological Centre here on Thursday that the Kisan portal, developed by the Union Ministry of Agriculture, provided a comprehensive source of information to the farmers, who had to register themselves with the portal for receiving messages.
Referring to his department’s other initiatives in providing weather-related information through mobile applications, Dr. Rathore said that under another programme on agro-meteorology, 3.4 million farmers were receiving messages on their phones.
One half of them got information through SMS and the other half through IVRS (inter-active voice response system), thanks to the IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited.
The Meteorological Department also developed Android-based application to view weather forecast and warnings on smart phones and tablets which was available in 200 cities, the DG said, adding that “we have to enlarge the base.”
As regards block-level weather forecast, he replied that initially 240 districts would be covered out of a total of around 600 districts.
Pointing out that it was an “intricate process” to provide block-level weather information and generating agro-meteorological advisory, he said district agro-meteorological units would be opened together with the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) of the Agriculture Ministry.
Dr. Rathore, who was here to take part in a regional coordination committee meeting, described the pattern of rainfall during southwest monsoon as “so far, so good.”
At the all-India level, the departure from the normal was four per cent. In Tamil Nadu, it was 19 per cent.
As for the forecast for northeast monsoon [which primarily benefits Tamil Nadu], Y.E.A. Raj, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, said better outlook would be available by the first week of October.