IRI scientists and Indian climate and agriculture experts met for a five-day workshop in Bhubaneshwar, India from April 12-17, 2010 to advance research and training efforts toward improved agriculture risk management.
The workshop, hosted by the Orissa University for Agriculture and Technology, brought together scientists from nine state agriculture universities across India who are leading demonstration efforts within the Extended Range Forecast System for Climate Risk Management in Agriculture project (ERFS), supported by the DAC/Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. The workshop sessions were led by Amor Ines and Andrew Robertson, scientists at IRI, India-based IRI project scientist Sheshagiri Rao, and scientists from lead project partners, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi).
At the workshop, climate and agricultural scientists worked together on practical approaches to systematically assess climate risks to specific crops in the context of each demonstration site. IRI, IMD and IIT Delhi scientists offered lectures and practical exercises for analyzing specific crop risks throughout the growing season, interventions to manage these risks, and costs and benefits associated with them. IRI scientists also led sessions on statistical methods for crop and rainfall data analysis. Finally, workshop participants presented and discussed the use of climate forecasts for crop planning in the project's nine demonstration districts.
This improved understanding of climate-related agricultural risks and potential risk management strategies will help guide climate analysis and forecasting components of the ERFS project. For example, the development of an India-based Data Library, similar to the IRI Data Library and including tailored maprooms enabling users to analyze wet and dry spell patterns using historical climate data, was presented at the workshop. IRI is currently working with IMD to establish a version of the Data Library there.
The Bhubaneshwar meeting built upon a previous workshop, held in Hyderabad in April 2009, at which a workplan was developed to guide efforts in the nine demonstration districts (see map on ERFS project flyer). Outcomes of the Bhubaneshwar workshop include a call for all demonstration efforts to undertake the approach to analyzing climate risks for selected crops, and recommendations for organizing and disseminating climate research and forecasting outputs at the demonstration level.