Kolkata: The development comes at a time when the Centre has proposed to set up weather forecasting monitors at kisan mandis to help farmers get weather forecast before they bring their produce to the market.
Purnendu Basu, the state Agriculture Minister, said setting up AWSs would help the farmers get timely updates on the weather forecast and specifically of their own block. Hence, they can plan accordingly for a better yield and it will also help avoid damage to crops as the weather will no more remain unpredictable for farmers in any part of the state. The weather frequently keeps changing on a regular basis, which is why AWSs have become essential in all blocks.
Basu said that AWSs in 145 blocks were set up around two and a half years ago. Now the target is to ensure the availability of the same in all the blocks and at the same time the task of upgrading the existing AWSs will also be taken up shortly. New software would be introduced for better monitoring of the changes in climate and dissemination of the information on weather forecast.
There are around 1700 employees of the state agriculture department who maintain regular interaction with farmers to advice them about modern techniques to get a better yield instead of using harmful fertilisers. All of them carry a tablet PC which they use to spread awareness among farmers about the updates and scientific measures which could be taken up for better yield and to check damage of crops.
With introduction of the new software in the AWSs, these employees will start getting the weather updates in their tablets and can disseminate information among farmers in the area.
According to an official of the state agriculture department, the steps taken up by the Centre in setting up weather forecasting monitors at kisan mandis would help farmers only when they would visit the market. But the move of the state agriculture department in setting up AWSs in all the blocks will help farmers get weather updates even while working in their fields. The AWSs will also help farmers to decide when to take their produce to market after getting the forecast on rainfall.
It may be mentioned that before the Trinamool Congress government came to power, many farmers had incurred huge losses due to crop damage almost every year. The reason was the absence of any mechanism for timely circulation of information on weather updates from the observatories in the state. It took some time for the new government to find a permanent solution to the problem soon after coming to power in 2011.Finally in 2013, the concept of AWS was introduced to help farmers get information on rainfall, humidity, wind, temperature and other climatic factors that may affect cultivation.