So, Ms. Sit el-Nafar Mohamed, what is the forecast for the rainy season?
Rain forecasts actually come from the Meteorological Agency. States monitor rainfall through several meteorological stations and inform us every week.
And what exactly does your department do?
Coordinating between the Ministry of Agriculture and state ministries of agriculture through field visits, meetings, conferences and reports, providing ministries with technical support through distributing improved seeds to small rain-fed farmers, incorporating states’ plans into one plan; providing funding and gasoline, fertilisers and pesticides. Also, we monitor the agricultural season.
Sounds like a tough job?
There is a lack of timely information owing to poor data collection by the states. They use traditional methods to survey the areas. The Department of Rain aims to apply modern technology to boost productivity and production using mechanisation, improved seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and water harvesting. We also plan to use modern methods in surveying areas and collecting data.
Last question: Can you drop a line about what that might mean for local agriculture?
Yes, by applying water harvesting systems which vary depending on the environment. They include excavations, earth dams and reservoirs, applying zero tillage and other technologies that save water in soil and by introducing new crops.