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Why become a member and what do we expect from members of INSAM?

Last modified December 15, 2008 15:05

Why become a member and what do we expect from members of INSAM?

Two items we want to discuss here and now. Why agrometeorologists should become members of INSAM and what we do expect from members.

Why become a member of INSAM?
INSAM being Web based, it does not have the intention to be competitive but to be complementary. Because of the moderation of our Web site we leave the fast and urgent unmoderated exchange of questions and answers and ideas for example to the WMO/FAO Agromet-L(ist) internet conference (see "News and Highlights" early on our Web site). So those on that list should also come to us for our additional specific information exchanges.

We will give organizations like ISB and CAgM the opportunity to express themselves on their ideas using our Web site, while we provide links to their Web sites and they have been asked to provide links to our Web site through theirs. Additional information will this way become available to members and they can contribute on additional items/issues. None of us can claim even in approximation that we represent most agrometeorologists in the world. By teaming up we will get more involvement not only in INSAM but also in ISB (the International Society of Biometeorology), CAgM (on and other organizations with strong agrometeorological components.

As involved in CAgM since 1979, I know very well the limitations of its outreach. This has always led to restrictions in its actual impacts, because the majority of those involved in its work remained members of National Weather Services. If CAgM could reach out to more agrometeorologists outside this important core, for its work as well as the impacts of its work, this would benefit not only members of CAgM but agrometeorologists in general. The same is true for virtually any other organization with strong components in agrometeorology. INSAM wants to be the facilitator for the interactions. That is why additional membership of INSAM, free of charge with or without founding membership, is for each and every agrometeorologist more than worth considering: it is a must!

What do we expect from members of INSAM?
An organization is as strong as the activities of its members permit. If we do not have a Web site with a lively exchange of information on all kinds of issues and items and not a good link with what is going on in agrometeorology everywhere in the world, it is not worth the trouble. However, the enthusiasm from developed as well as developing countries, and particularly the moving letters that we receive from members in developing countries that see INSAM as breaking through the wall of isolation that many feel encapsulating them, give us the feeling that we are on the right track. But we need your collaboration at all times.

One of our initiatives is the annual contest in “best examples of agrometeorological services”. Under “Accounts of Operational Agrometeorology” you find the prize winning results since 2006. The fourth contest is ongoing. Submissions will also be used in my “Applied Agrometeorology”. In my December 2008 till March 2009 homepage I wrote that “during my more than 30 years of research work and teaching in Africa, I got convinced that establishment of agrometeorological services is making the difference between “sense” and “non-sense” (in the literal meaning of the word) in agrometeorology. In my more than 15 years of such work in Asia, I got convinced that the best examples actually practised are to be found there, particularly in China and (still to a lesser extent) in India. However, access and local languages, as well as strong disinterest from mainstream agrometeorological science, were and are tremendous barriers to identification and researching of operational examples, from which we want to learn the strong and weak sides and that can be considered for improvements in contents and dissemination. Under “Accounts of Operational Agrometeorology” we have now put five information sheets on ten recently identified agrometeorological services in these five provinces in China”.

The Web site needs such and other material continuously. It is therefore imperative that the members of INSAM deliver material for the items/issues we have so far proposed and for the discussions on what should be added/changed/withdrawn. Every subject in agrometeorology is important to many colleagues elsewhere in this world. Every success and failure in trying to increase sustainable yields and protection of the resource base in agricultural production is worth it to let others know about this; whether this is related to agrometeorological services or to all the different support systems to such services that we have distinguished in the fields of data, research, training/education and extension or policy matters. We want to play a role in the informal exchange of information and needs for information that really matter in agricultural production under all the extremely different growing conditions that exist or can be created in this world. However, we can only do that with you and through you as members. If you want it, much available information and knowledge can be brought to use or be expanded in use. You should help to get that done. We trust that you have seen the importance of that exercise. Please participate.

Kees Stigter, founding president of INSAM (updated 14 December 2008)

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