With a steadily increasing population of 160 million people, its low elevation and coastal location, Bangladesh is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Flood and droughts ravage the lowlands, while salinity intrusion, land subsidence, cyclones, and rising sea-levels endanger the population living in the Bay of Bengal. According to a report by USAID, 56% of the population lives in high climate exposure area. Simultaneously, 70% of Bangladeshis live in rural areas, among which 87% depend on agriculture. Weather affects 80% of crop-yield variability—making those farmers subject to an uncertain economic future due to variation in the monsoon onset, drought incidences, and flood occurrences. At the same time, accurate and location-specific meteorological forecasts offer great potentials for securing food production against climate-related risks. Climate change is a national threat and requires solutions that can be easily scaled to the entire country.
Sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasts for agriculture (S2S4Agri)
Weather Impact cooperates with Wageningen Environmental Research (WEnR) and Digital Innovation for Impact (DI4I) to support the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) with the implementation of sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasts. Together we develop the entire data stream from weather model data to agronomical advisory services. The project is part of the Agro-Meteorological Information Systems Development Project (AMISDP) which is funded by The World Bank.
S2S forecasts are weather forecasts for the next 6 weeks and provide an indication of the weather on a weekly time scale. These forecasts fall between the conventional short term forecasts (up to 10 days ahead) and monthly seasonal forecasts and are at the forefront of the current science and not yet widely used. Weather Impact assists BMD and DAE in the development and use of these type of forecasts. The S2S timeframe contains potentially valuable information for famers. For example; will the monsoon start early or late? Or are there indication for extreme rainfall?
Components of the project are an assessment of the S2S models over Bangladesh and co-development of agronomical advisory products. These farm management advisories give the farmer more time to act on weather situations and helps them in their decision making to plan, postpone or anticipate on their farming activities. The newly developed advisories will be tested and validated in the field.
The most important component of the project is to sustain the newly developed services by providing capacity building trainings. BMD and DAE officials will be trained by Weather Impact and WEnR to use the system. Furthermore, a standardized operational procedure (SOP) will be discussed and developed with both BMD and DAE. The SOP defines the roles and responsibilities of the organizations in the S2S data chain.
Agro-meteorological forecasts and advisories for climate-proof food production in Bangladesh
Weather Impact cooperates with New Amsterdam Consultant and Delta Research Initiative to develop weather services for Bangladeshi farmers. Within the Water for Food Programm from NWP (Netherlands Water Partnership) we aim to increase farmers’ capacity to make data-driven decisions regarding water-management, irrigation, planting calendar and extreme weather mitigation. We focus on the lower Ganges Delta in Bangladesh, a vulnerable place due to increased climate variability. By bridging the gap between farmers and weather information, we want to increase water use efficiency and increase food production.
We have the opportunity to make a difference for farmers by providing the following services;
- agro-meteorological forecasts & advisories
- monsoon onset alert
- monthly seasonal outlook ( up to 3 months)
- forecast of extreme weather events
These services are provided via the Weather Impact mobile application and social media. We will first target farmers from the WATERAPPS project. WATERAPPS is an initiative coordinated by Fulco Ludwig and Spyros Paparrizos, our advisory partner the Water System and Global Change (WSG) group from Wageningen University. Spyros Paparrizos is the contact person from WSG, regarding this initiative.
A demonstration of our mobile application for the location in Bangladesh, is shown above. In this real-time visualization you retrieve weather forecasts and agri-advises for your specific location. You receive a weather alert when extreme weather is expected and this will be shown on top of your screen. The weather forecast for the coming days is always visible and includes the rainfall amount, rainfall chance and minimum and maximum temperature for your location. At the bottom the advises for farming activities are displayed. Also we provide information in a pop up screen when the rain season status will change soon. You receive a message when – for example – the rain season will start, when a dry spell within the rain season is expected or when the rain season will end soon.
The agro-meteorological forecasts and advisories to Bangladeshi farmers can have a direct effect on food security in the region. The weather forecasts are localized and interpreted into a tailored message for agricultural planning, depending on crop-type and farm location. With daily weather forecast, farmers have access to local information about the weather up to 7 days ahead, combined with an agricultural advice—a translation of the weather forecast into suitability for certain farming activities. An example of such advice would be a suitability indication to fertilize and weed on Tuesday, while Friday might be better for harrowing. This type of information guides farmers on daily farming activities and optimizes the growth, health, and quantity of their harvest.
Fig1. A print screen of the Weather4Farmers app for Bangladesh with a weather forecast outlook for the coming 10 days in English.
Fig2. A print screen of the Weather4Farmers app for Bangladesh with a weather forecast and farm management advice in Bengali.
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