The news of Cyclone Vardah left all of us worried and troubled. The loss of life, property and ofcourse agricultural produce has a deep impact on us- socially and economically. In this chaos, I was relieved to hear, that in the lands of East Godavari, Government and non government agencies were tracking weather and data available to predict the future situation. Hence, they were able to predict the cyclone and had issued warnings to the paddy farmers to harvest accordingly.
The incident brings to light an important but slightly ignored component of using advancement to the benefit of agriculture- weather analysis. Using the power of science and the vast network of satellites, we have the potential to constantly use weather data- previous and current to determine the weather conditions and prepare accordingly.
Many organizations- profit and not for profit, government and non governmental, are steadily INVESTING MONEY to set up infrastructure for analysing historic data for climate and weather, which goes as specific to crop and fields. This essentially changes anticipations into predictions. Progressive farmers are joining the bandwagon, investing in web-based easy to understand, smart phone or tablet-friendly softwares that essentially change data into actionable insights. It helps farmers plan when to sow, how much to harvest and until when to store.
It is estimated, that if the Government had not used predictive weather analysis for the timely forecast, we could have lost lot of crop. In the district of East Godavari, paddy was immediately transplanted to 2.2 lakh hectares and the overall saved output is estimated to be around 13 lakh tonnes.
We hope this serves as a great lesson for all of us, and we embrace predictive analysis and forecasting as a part of daily work culture on the farms. This will help us cope with the nature?s surprises better as well.