Digital Climate Advisory Services

Weather Impact got the opportunity to provide Digital Climate Advisory Services to almost 80.000 farmers in Zimbabwe. We are providing operational weather variables to the Zimbabwean Agricultural Observatory, capacity building training to hydro-meteorological stakeholders, weather forecasts and agro-meteorological farming advice to smallholder farmers. The goal of this project – funded by the World Bank ProGreen Initiative – is to help farmers better adapt to changing weather patterns, and strengthen both the Meteorology Services Department, which is part of the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, and the Agricultural Technical Extension and Advisory Services (AGRITEX) Department from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development.

Dynamic Crop Model

The data provided to the Zimbabwean Agricultural Observatory are historical and forecasted meteorological variables. Furthermore, SMS’s are created based on Weather Impact’s crop model that translates weather forecasts into practical farming advice. This advice is tailored to the farmer’s location, crop (e.g., maize, sorghum, soybean), preferred language, and the crop growth cycle.

Please see below a graphic of our dynamic crop model. This has been applied to the local context and input of Zimbabwe.

Fig.1 Conceptual overview of our crop model; the input consists of weather and climate data, agronomic input and input from farmers.  The data will be processed in  our dynamic crop model, which results in SMS’s for farmers with farming advice.

Capacity building

Finally, to further support sustainable improvement of national hydro-met services, Weather Impact also delivers trainings on Python programming and QGIS. One of our core beliefs is that capacity building can create a lasting impact in the local hydro-meteorological sector, the agricultural sector, and for smallholder farmers.

One week training about Python and Digital Climate Advisory Services (DCAS) applications

In November 2022, Weather Impact has provided a one week Python training in Zimbabwe to a selection of experts from the Meteorology Service Department (MSD), the Ministry of Agriculture (AGRITEX) and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU). The goal of this training was to advance their knowledge about utilizing Python for agro-meteorological applications and dissemination of services amongst farmers. In specific, the following topics were covered:

The training was perceived very positively and participants said to be using Python on their daily work from now on.

“Great facilitation skills, content well prepared and the concepts covered are important in solving DCAS challenges in Zimbabwe.”
Shylock Muyengwa – Zimbabwe Evaluation Association

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Fig. 2 and 3; Training session during the one week training about Python in Nyanga National Park in the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe.
Group photo of all training participants and the trainers Bob Ammerlaan and Janina Fraas.

Location of this project