Fasal inks MoU with IMD for research collaboration on weather forecast models to make farming climate-smart

● The tie-up is aimed at making day-to-day short-term weather forecasts accessible to farmers

● A total of 23 radar stations of IMD and about 600 on-ground precision farming devices of Fasal will be harnessed to provide these weather forecasts

Bengaluru, May 24, 2022: Fasal, India’s earliest full-stack agtech solutions company, today announced that it 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, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), 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, precipitation, etc., are crucial to achieving smart agricultural practices as they help farmers gain a comprehensive picture of their farms, manage crop growth, minimize 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.

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 forecasts to minimize 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 ongroung systems that run on solar & 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 microclimate conditions along with rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature, wind direction, leaf wetness, etc. The data collected from the hardware systems is processed into actionable advisories for farmers using agronomic models, AI and Machine Learning (ML).

Commenting on 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 from farming.”

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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