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COP 21-UNI. READING & WALKER INST. AFRICAN FARMERS SUPPORT WITH CLIMATE DATA

COP 21 PARIS University of Reading UK speaker Dr. Peter Dorward & Walker Inst. Prof. Ros Cornforth on: Supporting African farming communities with climate data to enable improved decision-making criteria, food crop security and create sustainable livelihoods in developing countries.

Dr Peter Dorward:

Most climate services have tended to focus on the short-term and seasonal forecast. The approach which he introduces does that built builds on those initiatives. It started in 2011 working with farmers in Zimbabwe and has then been piloted and extended into a number of other countries. They are now going to scale into Tanzania and Malawi, working with the world food program.

It puts farmers at the centre, and it seeks to help explore the challenges that they face, but also the opportunities that they have because it is not all bad news.

They involve providing climate information of two types. Both forecast historical information and they also bring in a concept called Options by Context, which simply means that, my neighbour here on a neighbouring farm might have more resources, different soils, might be wealthier, different appetites to risk than me, and so there context is different to mine. And the options that are best for him or her are not the same as the options for me.

Their support is mainly implemented through NGO’s and government extension services who are already operating with farmers and this feeds into and compliments their existing work, rather than an additional project.

It also involves the use of sms forecasts and radio.

Farmers value and use climate information and participatory tools. In the first year in Ghana, they reached 6000 households working with two NGO’s and some extension staff. It has enabled farmers to explore a range of options.

Prof. Ros Cornforth discusses:

  • Water and food security
  • Engaging with developing countries
  • Making science fit for purpose
  • Science for society

 

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