by Alexa Jay and Amor Ines
Crop yield predictions made during the growing season are relevant to many agricultural and food security decisions, including food safety net and relief programs, agricultural insurance, and management of agricultural inputs and credit supplies. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) Theme 2: Adaptation Through Managing Climate Risk supports advances in crop forecasting in service of its goal to enhance the resilience of rural livelihoods and food systems to climate-related risk.
A joint CCAFS Theme 2 project between the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University (IRI) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is investigating the use of satellite data to improve the accuracy of crop yield forecasting. Promising results in homogenous, large-scale farming environments indicate that incorporation of remotely sensed information on vegetation cover and soil moisture into crop models can reduce errors in yield predictions. Read more »
by Dr. Arame Tall
Farmers across the developing world are in dire need of relevant climate services. Not only do they need climate services to advise them on when to sow, harvest, and expect rains, but also to help them plan beyond the season. In other words, farmers need information to plan for a food secure future.
But how can we build an effective system that puts important forecast information about climate in the hands of vulnerable communities, especially marginalized farmers and women, often located in remote area? One initial step is to get all the stakeholders involved in the chain of production and communication of climate services in one room, and get them to talk for three days. Read more »
by Vanessa Meadu, Francesco Fiondella and Brian Kahn
The massive and wide-scale drought that has left American farmers shaking their fists at barren clouds is the fifth-worst on record for the U.S. Eight out of every ten acres of agricultural land has been affected. As a result, farmers will pull in the lowest corn yield in more than a decade, and the soybean harvest will also be significantly lower than average. American consumers will likely feel the impact of this at the checkout counter in the months to come.
These harsh realities come in a country that has some of the most sophisticated data and technology for climate and weather monitoring in the world. Read more »
By Arame Tall
Progressive women farmers from the village of Amtrar, in Northern India, nested at the foothills of the Himalayas, wave us goodbye as we finish our day-long discussion with them to capture their assessment of the reach and practical usefulness of receiving agro-meteorological advisories for their livelihoods and farming decisions.
Since June 18, 2012, a field team from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has been on a mission across the five corners of India to interview farmers. This in an attempt to document their perspectives on the added-value of climate services for agricultural decision-making. Through India Meteorology Department (IMD)’s national Agro-meteorological Advisory Service (AAS) program, farmers across the country have been receiving, for a number of years, weather-based, crop-focused agro-meteorological advisories. These provide practical advice on when to planting, irrigation, what pesticide and fertilizer to use at the correct timing as well as other relevant agricultural support services. The data have been based on a five day short-range weather forecast, produced by the India Meteorology Department. Read more »
by Francesco Fiondella
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy there is 54 years, and it has an infant mortality rate higher than any other country except Afghanistan. It is also a country that is extremely vulnerable to climate variability and change. The livelihoods of four out of five people in Niger depend on rainfed agriculture. In other words, crops get their water only when it rains, which isn't a given in this part of the world. Read more »
par Sonja Vermeulen
Dix à vingt ans c’est le délai typiquement nécessaire à la conception et la mise en œuvre de la plupart des interventions essentielles à l'agriculture: le développement de nouvelles variétés de cultures, les infrastructures d’irrigation ou de stockage d’eau à l’échelle de bassins versants, ou encore l'implantation et création de nouveau grands centres de traitement. La bonne conception de n’importe laquelle de ces interventions dépend d’une bonne connaissance du climat attendu une fois qu'elles seront en place et en fonctionnement. Les planificateurs et décideurs ont besoin d’avoir, à une ou deux décennies d'avance, des prévisions météorologiques locales fiables pour des variables clés telles que la variabilité interannuelle des précipitations ou la durée de la saison de croissance. Read more »
by Sonja Vermeulen
Ten to twenty years is the typical timeframe for designing and implementing many of the interventions most critical to agriculture: new crop varieties, or catchment-wide infrastructure for irrigation and water storage, or siting and establishment of major new processing hubs. Good design of any of these depends on knowing what the climate will be like once they are up and running. What planners and policy-makers need are reliable local forecasts, for a decade or two ahead, of key variables such as inter-annual variability in rainfall, or length of the growing season.
The bad news is that impatient end-users are likely to wait some years before “good-enough” decadal forecasts are available for most regions. Read more »
by Ousmane Ndiaye and Robert Zougmoré
Seasonal climate forecasts could have considerable potential to improve agricultural management and livelihoods for smallholder farmers. But constraints related to legitimacy, salience, access, understanding, capacity to respond and data scarcities have so far limited the widespread use and benefit from seasonal predictions in the Sahel region. The existing constraints reflect inadequate information services, policies or institutional process in the region, however there are great potential in overcoming them. One trend is that regional climate outlook forums and national meteorological services have been at the forefront to provide forecast information for agriculture to rural farmers. One example of this is the communication workshop on probabilistic seasonal climate forecast, held in Senegal last year and supported by CCAFS. As part of the work on providing farmers with forecasts, a follow up workshop was held in late January to see how farmers used the information in their agricultural practices and what needs to be further improved. Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)