Climate services for farmers

Nov 4, 2015 Posted by:  

In the context of changing, and thus growingly unpredictable, climate, the access to appropriate information becomes crucial for implementation of the effective adaptation strategies in agriculture. Consequently, one of the key challenges is delivering climate information and advisory services to millions of female and male farmers around the world, in particular in the global South countries, in order to help them adapt to increasingly serious consequences of climate change.

Climate information services can be a powerful tool in the adaptation of agriculture to the changing climate conditions. They play a very important role especially in protecting farms from droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. Reliable climate and weather information allows also for a more effective use of favorable conditions and helps farmers better manage their crops and increase yields.

Farmers can receive different type of information and with varied frequency. The most typical form are daily weather forecasts informing about the predicted temperatures and rainfall in the coming days. Particularly important are also warnings and alerts about the possible occurrence of extreme weather events or the spread of pests and diseases. All this information, depending on the local circumstances, might be delivered through radio, television, mobile phones or internet. Thanks to this type of information farmers can make better decisions concerning the time of crop planting and harvesting as well as the application of fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. Putting in place an early warning system, on the other hand, can help farmers protect themselves, their families and their property from the consequences of extreme weather events.

Female and male farmers may also receive information on climate variability between months and years. Using historical data and numerous climate variables this information tells about probabilities for seasonal temperatures and rainfall as well as other climate conditions important from the point of view of agricultural activities (e.g. dry spells or rainy season start date). This type of knowledge can assist farmers in, among other things, selecting appropriate crops, plant varieties or livestock feeding strategies, applying fertilizers and pesticides, making decisions regarding diversification of crops or income sources etc. In other words, farmers are able to better manage the risks connected with climate. This kind of information might be delivered to farmers in particular during workshops with experts or meetings with suppliers of various agricultural services.

Finally, farmers need also information on climate change and its consequences, especially the ones predicted for the coming years or decades. This information is usually based on historical trends and future projections regarding rainfall patterns and average temperatures as well as historical changes in the frequency of extreme weather events. The knowledge of the forecasted climate change, which can be provided to farmers by experts during specially organized workshops, should help farmers in making long-term decisions concerning investments on their farms, changes in farming methods or diversification of their livelihood strategies.

Learn more about climate information services and their role in assisting farmers in both short- and long-term managing of their farms from the infographic presented below (click to enlarge) and the short video available here (click to watch).

Infographic

Source: CCAFS

Photo credit: Francesco Fiondella / CGIAR Climate (Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Last Modified: Nov 4, 2015