Farming is a major livelihood for many in rural India and agriculture is the biggest contributor to India’s GDP. Despite modern agriculture taking hold in India, the developing country still struggles with poverty, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) had even shown a staggering 7 million jobs lost in 2021, with rural India suffering many job losses in the agriculture sector. Strengthening farming techniques and the way farmers deal with insurance is one way a private agency is helping. Through data that Skymet Weather collects and its app, the agency is helping Indian farmers with weather forecasting.
The agency has actually put together a project called the “Climate Services for Resilient Agriculture in India,” by using its expertise along with a partnership with USAID.
The main objectives start with bringing quality weather data to nine states and 31 districts in India. This includes location-specific crop advisory, resources for weather-based crop insurance and climate-based services and practices that lead to benefits for the agricultural community. Skymet Weather notes that farmers can expect to see the following benefits: “accurate and timely availability of weather information, increase in capacity to handle climate risk in agriculture, better resource utilization based on real-time crop advisories and securing farm incomes from adverse climate conditions.”
About Skymet Weather
Skymet measures, predicts and collects information that has to do with the specific location of weather or climate that may affect a farmer’s work or crops. Access to this among other risk mitigation services allows the farmers to prepare or adapt their farming plans, according to its website.
The agency also sells and provides the data it collects to insurers. After an agent has added the farmer and their land into the group, when a weather event happens, Skymet also sends data along to the insurers. This could help strengthen claims by the farmers and have all the appropriate information about the climate during the event and its effects on the farmland to help the farmers. Deutsche Welle (DW) has put together an informative video on how the data helps the farmers.
What the Tools Provide
The agency uses mobile technology and a phone app for the benefit of collecting data and for the farmers. “Skygreen” is a mobile application for farmers to join that offers geo-tagging for their farms. The app monitors and records coordinates for data collecting among other uses, according to Skymet’s website.
Another app “Skymitra” is specifically designed for farmers. Not only does it provide weather forecasting for early planning and preparations for the Indian farmers but it provides data quickly and updates it every seven to 15 days.
According to Skymet, 80,423 farmers registered for the project from October 2015 to June 2019. Skymet also received the Best Agricultural and Farming Initiative-Private Sector award from the Digital India Program at the fifth Digital India Summit Awards. Digital India highlighted the project for helping make it easier to mitigate weather-related risks in farming and providing the weather data through the mobile for farmers to easily access and use to empower their knowledge and plans for their work.
Future of Indian Farming
The world is still dealing with the issues and the aftermath of the pandemic, and India is no exception. Even so, many agencies and government programs are being implemented and set into place to try to combat these hits. Skymet shows how in simple terms it is helping Indian farmers with weather forecasting. The use of collected data, insurance claim resources and digital tools used by the company and farmers are a good model for the future of Indian farming.
– Marynette Holmes