Breakthrough science and innovation

S. Kilungu (CCAFS)
Outcomes & Impacts

Weather forecasts support food security and disaster management in East Africa

East Africa
Climate Services and Safety Nets

To help address devastating extreme climate events such as droughts and floods in the Horn of Africa, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) was set up to provide climate early warning and associated information to member countries. However, in the past, the ICPAC could only provide seasonal climate forecasts within 3 general expected rainfall categories: ‘above normal’, ‘near normal’ and ‘below normal’. This kind of forecasting lacked the specific details of how much rain to expect and when, which is what rural communities and their support services in East Africa really needed to know.

But all this changed with the launch in 2015 of the Integrated Agricultural Production and Food Security Forecasting System for East Africa (INAPFS) project, led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and supported by CCAFS. INAPFS is a multi-partner initiative involving not only ICPAC, CIMMYT and CCAFS, but also the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, the UN World Food Programme and the Partnership for Economic Policy, as well as national weather services, disaster risk management centres and food security offices in project countries.

C. Schubert (CCAFS)

Building on existing tools, the project has developed a robust, scientifically sound and user-friendly forecasting system that integrates improved seasonal climate, production and food security forecasts.

Thanks to the new project, ICPAC can now forecast how much rain will fall on both a seasonal and monthly basis and can effectively communicate this information to national and regional policymakers, agriculturists, meteorological and hydrological services, disaster management and food security offices and non-government organizations. These organizations can, in turn, advise farmers.

INAPFS will provide accurate and spatially disaggregated early warnings to local and national governments and relief agencies, enabling them to respond to climate crises in a timely and efficient manner.

“When policy makers have the right information, they make the right decisions and take the right actions.” Bwango Apuuli, IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC)

Through this improved forecasting service, ICPAC is able to enhance the ability of East African communities to cope with current extreme weather events, events which are projected to increase in frequency and severity with climate change. This impact is just one outcome of a wider regional CCAFS programme that is working to help rural communities in East Africa become food and nutrition secure by 2025.

“Climate related disasters, such as droughts, are among the reasons behind the ever-increasing food insecurity that has persisted for ages in the Greater Horn of Africa region. When policy makers have the right information, they make the right decisions and take the right actions.” Guleid Artan, Director of the Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)