Sesame is a crop that is sensitive to weather variability; the annual yield is influenced by local weather, especially rainfall amounts and wind. Knowledge on coming weeks’ weather can help small scale farmers to plan their farm activities and address weather related risks. Over the year 2018, a mobile weather services was piloted with 3000 sesame farmers in Amhara and Tigray, two regions in the north of Ethiopia. The farmers received three times a week a weather forecast on their mobile phone in their local language. This pilot was part of the CommonSense project and was carried out in collaboration with the National Meteorological Agency of Ethiopia (NMA) and Sesame Business Network (SBN).
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Weather Impact has visited the Tanzanian Meteorological Agency (TMA) for a workshop about weather services for small scale farmers in Tanzania. The workshop took place in the scope of the Sikia project and targeted the experts in Numerical Weather Prediction at TMA.
In the week from 17 – 21 September, the 4th annual partner meeting of the G4AW project CropMon took place in Eldoret, Kenya. The goal of CropMon (Crop Monitoring Service) is to provide Kenyan farmers information to enhance their crop growth. The information service – both weather information and information about the status of the crop – is provided via SMS to farmers. In the project four Kenyan partners -Cereal Growers Association, Coffee Management, Equity Group Foundation and Sugar Research Institute- cooperate with Dutch partners AgroCares, NEO and Weather Impact and Turkish partner Springg.
Sept 2018 – Weather Impact has welcomed two new employees in the team; Bob Ammerlaan MSc and Sippora Stellingwerf MSc. The expansion of our team will enable further growth in the delivery of weather information in our African projects and beyond. Bob Ammerlaan and Sippora have a background in climate physics and meteorology from Utrecht and Wageningen University respectively. More information about our team can be found via our company profile on LinkedIn.
Last month, Weather Impact visited Burundi as part of GAP4All, a G4AW funded project (link). GAP4All stands for “Good Agricultural Practices for All” and aims to deliver information services to Burundian small-scale farmers through an Agri-Coach app. With such service, farmers should be able to decide: 1) What crop to plant where, 2) When to plant and perform farming activities, and 3) How to do this for optimal results. This kind of information is believed to result in considerably higher yields while reducing (climate) risks and preserving water and land, increasing the income for smallholder farmers throughout the country.
Fall Armyworm (FAW) is an insect that is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. It prefers maize but can feed on more than 80 additional species of plants. It has a voracious appetite, reproduces and spreads quickly, given the right environmental conditions. FAW was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016 and has spread across most of sub-Saharan Africa in a staggering speed. Millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, have been infested and the crop pest poses a significant threat to food security, income and livelihoods. According to an evidence note published by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) in September 2017, unless proper control measures are implemented, the pest could cause maize yield losses estimated between 3.6 and 6.2 billion dollar per year across the 12 major African maize producing countries.
On 28 May 2018 the monsoon officially started in Yangon, Myanmar. At this same date, the project MyVAS4Agri was launched by the project partners all present in Myanmar. According to Burmese traditions, this will bring fortune and luck to our project.
For the G4AW project CropMon in Kenya, regular feedback reports are delivered by our project partners. In the latest SMS feedback survey 178 farmers were interviewed in April 2018 for the period April-December 2017. The results were quite positive. On average, 95 % of the respondents indicated that the weather forecast that they received through SMS was correct. In addition, the weather forecast was used by some of the farmers to plan management practices. Whether they used the weather forecast strongly depended on the type of crop they were growing. It ranged from 24% for coffee growers to 87% for sugar cane farmers. On average 91% of the farmers states that they think the advice given by the CropMon consortium was useful and between 80-100% of the farmers witnessed an improvement in their crop growth. Weather Impact continues to monitor farmers feedback in 2018 and the results are used to further improve our messages.
Last week three meteorologists from the Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency (NMA) visited The Netherlands for the G4AW CommonSense project. In this project, smallholder farmers in Ethiopia are provided with information services, such as weather forecasts, to help them make better informed decisions on farming activities. As mobile internet and smartphones are not widespread across the rural Ethiopian population, they receive a daily weather forecast by SMS.
Food security for Africa is an urgent global challenge. The main cause of food insecurity is inadequate food production. New weather services are key to produce food more efficiently and of higher quality. On March 22nd 2018 Weather Impact hosted a seminar to join leading experts from the fields of meteorology, hydrology and African agriculture. The seminar, named “Weather-information services for successful local agriculture in Africa” gave a platform to professionals at the forefront of science and practise. They addressed crucial opportunities and challenges of achieving successful local agriculture in African countries. In the “open space” workshop that followed to the plenary speakers, we discussed practical challenges, opportunities and solutions to improve local agricultural productivity in African countries. Due to the large variety in the expertises of the participants and their active contributions we are looking back to a very succesful day. The results of the discussions will be summarized and will become available via the seminar web-page. Read more ›