What Is the Role of Agro-Met Information Services in Farmer Decision-Making? Uptake and Decision-Making Context among Farmers within Three Case Study Villages in Maharashtra, India
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAgriculture. 2017, 7 (8), 16: 70. 10.3390/agriculture7080070
Scientific studies of climate and meteorology focusing on India show significant increase in the variability and frequency of extreme precipitation events. The increased variability of weather patterns places a huge constraint on farmer’s ability to make strategic agricultural practice decisions. In response, public and private agro-met information services disseminate agro-met information to farmers. Yet, studies still show that there are constraints related to access and understanding of the information. An agro-met information service is based on scientific input from meteorology coupled with agricultural information and this information package is disseminated to farmers. Based on a study in three villages in Maharashtra, India, we show that the relevance of agro-met information differs depending on the decision-making situation. Several factors play an important role in farmer’s agricultural decision-making. The usefulness of the agro-met information from farmer perspectives depends on the access, salience, and credibility of the information. Some subscribers complained about the credibility and the salience of services, while others painted a more positive picture of the service, arguing that there was value in receiving such information. The subscribers mainly valued agro-met information for the ability to undertake precautionary actions. We found that agricultural decision-making was discussed in different arenas; these arenas represented possibilities for farmers to contextualize agro-met information and thereby translate information to timely and appropriate actions suited to the specific local context.