CEN pilot project : ‘Building Food Security through Agro-met Innovation Advisory Service
Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) has organised a workshop on knowledge sharing on weather forecast service established as a pilot project in Belaka Municipality in Udaypur district. The event with title ‘Building Food Security through Agro-met Innovation Advisory Service was organised in Kathmandu on Friday. Jira Rai; Deputy Mayor, Belaka Municipality, BibhuthiPokharel, Department of Hydrology and Metrology, Milan Dhungana; Minstry of Forest and Environment, President of National Farmers Group Federation Nabaraj Basnet Prof. Roshan M. Bajracharya were among the participants of the event.
On the occasion, CEN elaborated that the six month long project developed a local weather station in the municipality premises. Likewise developed communication system with Department of Metrology, National Agriculture Research Centre to share weather forecast related data and information. Moreover the project has developed app for information for the local farmers.
The project was supported by Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre. Nepal Government Ministry of Forest and Environment, Department of Meteorology and National Farmers Groups Federation also had supported the project to be successful.
The uniqueness of the project lies on its interactive mobile app that was designed and developed with essential features required for the local farmers. A sophisticated automatic weather station has been established and operationalized in the municipality complex with digital display board. The real time data of the station is accessible to all those using the app. Testing with the farmers who carry a smartphone revealed that the app is quite useful for them to making wise decisions regarding appropriate weather conditions for farming activities such as seedling and harvesting of crops.
The project supported approximately 5,000 local farmers in accessing and applying real time weather information for refining their crop planning calendar, thus, saving time, costs and efforts. The achievement was possible through development, testing and application of app called ProMS, which is equipped with agromet related early warning and varieties of weather information including rainfall, temperature, humidity, risks of flood, landslides and forest fire.
Major achievements of the project are categorized into three aspects. The first achievement is development of a farmer focused mobile app packed with sophisticated weather information backed by locally generated weather data, forecasts and alerting messages along with relevant maps of land use and land cover, flood risk zone and fire incidents, which they find quite interesting and useful to make everyday decisions for farming activities. The second is the delivery model of the project that proved its effectiveness to create enabling environment among the different stakeholders, namely, the target beneficiaries, municipal leaders, facilitating agencies of province and national levels and specialized technical service providers. Without the direct interfaces of the stakeholders, the rich information packed in the app alone won’t get through the intended farmers. And the third achievement is the ownership of the process and product by the municipality and the groups of farmers, which they are committed to maximize benefits of the application by investing more on the process as and when needed basis in the days ahead.
Participating experts and stakeholders seek the solutions mainly on possibility of replicating the knowledge gained by the pilot project in other local levels to capacitate farmers in terms of technical establishment, financial involvement, capacity building and the system to be user friendly. They also expressed views on coordinating three levels of governments for such technology to make accessible to all farmers.
CEN is a non-profit service oriented, policy, research and implementation organisation established in 1999 with a mission to educate and aware people on issues related to climate change, energy and other environmental issues and work for reducing air pollution and global warming impacts to natural and human system. It focuses on research based education and advocacy campaigns with policy inputs and implementation on issues related to sustainable energy use and environmental conservation. CEN envisages Sustainable Nepal where right to clean environment is ensured for all. The non-government institution has been active on actions on climate change and clean energy sector.