Weather forecasts: Economic benefits to farmers, fishermen since 2015 work out to ₹19,000 cr. per annum

When extrapolated the study to the next five years, this works out ₹50,000 cr.e approximately, says Ministry

Updated - November 03, 2020 10:49 pm IST

Published - November 03, 2020 02:17 am IST - NEW DELHI

 A fisherman mending his net before venturing into the sea on the Shanghumughom beach.

A fisherman mending his net before venturing into the sea on the Shanghumughom beach.

Economic benefits from the use of weather forecasting services to farmers and fishermen since 2015 worked out to ₹19,000 crore annually, the Earth Sciences Ministry claimed citing a study it had commissioned from the research firm National Council of Applied Economic Research.

When extrapolated to the next five years, this worked out ₹50,000 crore approximately. The weather advisories, which are provided by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), are prepared by using weather models at different time scales — from weekly, fortnightly and seasonal.

These also included warnings about extreme events such as cyclones and floods.

Since 2015, these have come under the purview of the Ministry’s Monsoon Mission and have necessitated investments of ₹1,000 crore in super computers to generate such forecasts. Therefore, the Ministry said, a rupee invested in weather-related infrastructure translated to an economic gain of ₹50 in income for agriculturists and fishermen.

A similar exercise by the NCAER in 2015 had estimated a much larger gain, of ₹50,000 crore, annually.

To compute gains in the latest edition of the NCAER study, 6,098 respondents (including 3,965 farmers, 757 marine fishermen and 1,376 livestock owners) from 173 districts spanning 16 States were surveyed on the extent to which they used the forecasts to take decisions on when they sowed, applied fertilizer and harvested. The 173 districts were also rain-fed where unlike places with more developed irrigation infrastructure, they were more reliant on monsoon rains and more vulnerable to losses from the vagaries of nature.

Another telephone survey of around 2 lakh respondents was held to validate the findings of the face-to-face survey. These results were then extrapolated onto agricultural consumption and landholding data compiled from the National Sample Survey datasets.

“About 94% of farmers who made modifications to any one of the nine critical agricultural practices based on the weather forecast could either avoid loss or saw an increase in income. About 31% made modifications on all nine critical practices,” the authors note.

The average annual income of farming households which adopted no modification worked out to be ₹1.98 lakh; ₹2.43 lakh for those who modified 1 to 4 practices; ₹2.45 lakh for those who modified 5 to 8 practices and ₹3.02 lakh for those who adopted all the nine changes. “It may thus be concluded that the continuous adoption of all the nine critical agricultural practices by farmers based on weather forecasts after 2015 [when the MM weather models were introduced] had a significant impact on increasing family incomes of farmers.” Overall, the use of inputs led to an increase of ₹12,500 annually for these farmer households and ₹12,000 for fishermen most of whom were Below Poverty Line. The survey was conducted by the Reliance Foundation.

For the 2015 edition, a similar exercise was conducted. However, nearly two thirds of those interviewed were in irrigated lands and farmers were asked how much the proportion of their net income could be attributed to weather inputs. The response ranged from 15%-25%. A similar comparison wasn’t available for the latest survey. That survey conducted in 2012-13 sought to estimate the benefits of the weather models run by the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, also Ministry organisation.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.