Fasal, IMD collaborate for research on weather forecast models to make farming climate-smart

Fasal, IMD collaborate for research on weather forecast models to make farming climate-smart
IMD has 23 radar stations which would help in providing Fasal with historical radar and satellite data while Fasal’s on-ground systems will be used to gather the IoT data to be shared with the IMD

Fasal, India’s earliest full-stack agritech solutions company, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for research collaboration. As part of the agreement, Fasal and IMD will work closely on research around precipitation forecasting, validation of weather forecasting models, and dissemination of learning to farmers.

The key scope of the collaboration includes an exchange of hourly short-range model for rainfall probability, rainfall amount, temperature, and humidity using historic Internet of Things (IoT) data and hourly forecast data, as well as precipitation nowcasting models.

With day-to-day weather playing an important role in agricultural production, accurate prediction of weather can significantly help with increasing crop growth and yield, controlling pests, water and fertiliser needs. Since its founding in 2018, Fasal has been working to remove the guesswork out of farming by equipping horticulture farmers with farm-specific crop intelligence through its precision farming systems. Now, as part of the agreement, Fasal, and the IMD will together promote research and development (R&D) activities pertaining to the development of weather forecast models which would mutually benefit both entities and thereby farmers.

Accurate microclimatic forecasts such as temperature, humidity, and precipitation among other climatic indicators, are crucial to achieving smart agricultural practices as they help farmers gain a comprehensive picture of their farms, manage crop growth, minimise crop infestations and plan optimal harvest time. However, most of the weather forecast services available to farmers provide predictions for large areas. To change this, Fasal will leverage its award-winning IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered technology to develop precipitation nowcasting (forecasting for a very short-term period of up to 2 hours) along with the IMD. The regions that are in the purview of this agreement for R&D include: five districts in Karnataka, five districts in Maharashtra, one district in Telangana and two districts in Andhra Pradesh.

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The raw atmospheric data provided by IMD will harness Fasal’s strong IoT and AI-powered models to provide accurate short, medium, and long-range weather and microclimate forecast to minimise weather-induced agricultural productivity losses to farmers. IMD has 23 radar stations, which would help in providing Fasal with historical radar and satellite data for the above-mentioned regions. Of Fasal’s several on-ground systems that run on solar and battery power, about 500–600 in the mentioned regions will be used to gather the IoT data to be shared with the IMD. Fasal’s devices have sensors that can measure various farm-level macroclimatic, and microclimatic conditions along with rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature, wind direction, leaf wetness, among other related forecasts. The data collected from the hardware systems is processed into actionable advisories for farmers using agronomic models, AI and Machine Learning (ML).

Highlighting the partnership, Shailendra Tiwari, Founder, Fasal said, “We at Fasal are excited to partner with IMD to help farmers in the country manage their crops better. We are thrilled to work with the IMD in developing precipitation nowcasting and short-range forecasting models, which will help farmers make timely and accurate decisions for their farms. This partnership helps us work towards furthering Fasal’s mission of making precision farming accessible and affordable to all farmers while removing guesswork.”

Briefing about the collaboration, Dr KK Singh, Scientist- G and Head, Agromet Advisory Services Division, IMD said, “Through this partnership, we are glad that many Indian farmers can reap the benefits of the research exchange and make their farming climate-smart. The powerful hourly forecast data and precipitation nowcasting models being developed with Fasal will be game-changers in equipping farmers with farm-specific crop intelligence, helping them make informed decisions. Through this research collaboration, we are on the path to making Indian farming resistant to day-to-day weather conditions.”

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