The agro-meteorology program was instituted under the Agriculture Research and Extension Division (ARED) of the Department of Agriculture in 2019. The program will deal with meteorology, hydrology, pedology and biological factors that influence agriculture production as well as the interaction between agriculture and environment. In brief the program will mainly study the agro-climatic resources, assess their impact on agriculture and use the knowledge to improve the agriculture productivity.
The Bhutanese farming system is predominantly rain-fed and is highly sensitive to climate variability and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Changing rainfall patterns and climate related hazards pose high risks to the farming communities. Farmers frequently experience crop losses due to droughts, windstorms, hailstorms, disease outbreaks and erratic monsoon. Such losses of crops to these elements could be adapted and mitigated through effective agro-meteorology services.
The National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) is the nodal agency to generate and maintain weather data and provide weather and climate services. The weather data and forecasts generated by NCHM is generic and is of limited use to agriculture sector as the data is not converted to usable form to provide timely agriculture related weather advisory services to the farming communities. Translating weather/climate information for location specific agriculture needs, communicating and disseminating them to the farming communities is necessary. Therefore the agro-meteorology program was instituted to develop and sustainable and economically viable agriculture system under a changing climate.