Last month, Stefan Ligtenberg and Sippora Stellingwerf visited Burundi together with partners from the GAP4All project (Good Agricultural Practices for All). One of the goals of the visit was to evaluate farmers’ opinion on the first version of the AgriCoach app. The AgriCoach app helps farmers decide on what, how and when to plant. Weather Impact provides the weather forecasts in the AgriCoach app. The forecasts contain information on rainfall and temperature for up to 8 days ahead and are given in three languages: Kirundi, French and English.
Stay up to date with global weather news.
The Fall Armyworm (FAW, Latin: Spodoptera frugiperda) has been taunting farmers in the Americas for centuries. The FAW has over 80 different crops on its diet, but prefers maize. Just three years ago the FAW spread to West-Africa, most likely via air traffic. By today, the FAW has been reported throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and poses a huge threat to food security and the livelihood of farmers. The economic damage is estimated to be several billion USD. Unfortunately, this is not the end. Just recently the FAW has also invaded Asia: India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Yemen now have to face a new pest. The map below shows the current extent of the FAW.
The year 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, with a global average surface air temperature of 14.7°C as shown by the data from Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). The last five years were on average 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels. Furthermore, the year 2018 was also the fourth costliest year since 1980 for insured losses due to natural hazards according to Munich RE. The total losses due to natural hazards were estimated at $160 billion, of which 78% had a meteorological or climatological cause.
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).
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.