Kenya: Climate Knowledge By Farmers Boosts Harvests – Report

With weather extremes caused by climate change now widely seen as a major threat to food production in Africa and South Asia, a new report finds that many countries including Kenya are now providing millions of farmers with innovative climate information services that allow them to anticipate and adapt to rapidly changing conditions.

The study, ‘Scaling up climate services for farmers: Mission Possible’, calls for the mobilisation of community radio stations, meteorological services, agriculture extension agents, schools and farmers to develop and distribute forecasts and farming strategies that provide a front-line defense against the effects of climate change on food production.

Dr Arame Tall, lead author of the study, says the involvement of farmers in developing these climate services is essential to their success.

“It’s encouraging to see climate information services emerging that are drawing from many types of experts and engaging a wide range of partners to devise effective strategies to help farmers cope with a changing climate.

“They are allowing farmers to protect themselves from the effects of weather extremes, such as droughts and floods, and also helping them take advantage of especially good conditions,” says Tall.

The study by the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) comes as experts meet today for the Managing Agricultural Risks in a Changing Climate in Sub-Saharan Africa conference in South Africa.

The study reveals that the services work best when they involve broad collaborations between meteorologists, agricultural experts, farmers and agriculture extension agents.

The study found that it’s best to combine conventional data with knowledge of local conditions to develop accurate and informative advice on farm management.

East Africa’s IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center has invested in improving its capacity for interpreting, localising and packaging climate information services for farmers in villages in Kenya.

“Climate information services are a critical tool, offering farmers a pathway to thrive in the face of climate risk. Tailored information can protect farmers against extreme weather events that erode livelihoods, and help them to make decisions about choices and changing practices that take better advantage of productivity-enhancing technologies when climate conditions permit,” said CCAFS East Africa regional programme leader and co-author, James Kinyangi.


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