If farmers are provided with village-level weather forecast, it would help them adopt crop improvement strategies to meet the challenges of climate change.
According to officials, despite having technology to forecast at the taluk-level, it is not being used effectively, as only district-level forecasts are disseminated. “We have technology to forecast weather at taluk-levels, but are not disseminating it owing to shortage of manpower. At least four people are required in each taluk for the task,” said M B Rajegowda, agro-meteorologist at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.
Raita Samparka Kendras can also be used to disseminate data but the staff need to be trained and the government needs to make efforts in this direction, he added.
According to a report of the Indian Institute of Science Climate Variability and Climate Change Projections-Karnataka region, the state could have less rainy days and rise in temperature over the years. Scientists projected that during the Kharif season, most northern districts will face 10-80 per cent drought.
Koppal and Yadgir districts are projected to have almost double the drought frequency in the Kharif season. During Rabi season, drought frequency is projected to increase in most of the eastern districts of the state.
Scientists and agriculturists from across the country who were at the UAS-B three-day meet on climate change, which concluded on Sunday, demanded that the government increase the number of observation centres and invest in forecasting model to predict weather at the village level.
Echoing the same view, Dr S A Patil, chairperson of the Karnataka Krishi Mission, said that the government also needs to pump in more money in research so that scientists could come out with drought resistant varieties of crop.
“Research should help farmers. Earlier, sowing used to take place by May but now it is August. To address such climate change issues, scientists must focus on effective research,” he said.
Stress was also placed on saving traditional seeds of high yielding varieties and to create zonal offices to collect and use such information.