A new output report from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has been published which is an outcome of an international workshop on “Scaling up Climate Services for Farmers in Africa and South Asia,”.
Jointly with USAID, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Climate Services Partnership (CSP), CCAFS successfully organized the international Workshop on ‘Scaling up Climate Services for Farmers in Africa and South Asia’ in Saly, Senegal on December 10-12, 2012.
The workshop received an overwhelming participation from various organisations including more than 100 experts from 30 countries and roughly 50 institutions, gathered for three days to grapple with the challenge of supporting vulnerable farming communities through the production, communication, delivery and evaluation of effective agrometeorological information and advisory services; and to identify practical actions to address those challenges at scale.
The inaugural session began with introductory remarks by Dr. M.V. Shivakumar, WMO, who stressed on the importance of producing salient climate information and advisory services that meet the needs of the world’s poorest farmers, followed by short foundational presentations by leading scientists working at the interface of climate forecasting and agricultural research, including Dr. James Hansen (IRI), Dr. Balaji Venkataraman (Commonwealth of learning), Dr. Carla Roncoli (Emory University), Dr. Sarah McKune (University of Florida) and Dr. Surabhi Mittal (CGIAR-CIMMYT), who highlighted the tenacious challenges that currently constrain our collective ability to provide climate services that work for farmers.
The workshop held five thematic sessions dedicated to each of the 5 grand challenges to providing farmer-focused climate services, namely:
· Salience: tailoring content, scale, format and lead-time to farm-level decision-making;
· Access: providing timely access to remote rural communities with marginal infrastructure;
· Legitimacy: giving farmers an effective voice in the design and delivery of climate services;
· Equity: ensuring that women, poor and socially marginalized groups are served; and
· Integration: providing climate information as part of a larger package of agricultural support and development assistance, enabling farmers to act on received information.
Working groups considered a set of eighteen initiatives across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia that have used innovative approaches, such as cell phone-based text messages and voice recordings, to address these challenges. Synthesizing good practice, group discussions opened a platform for South-South learning and collaboration to explore solutions that work at scale to overcome the challenges to reaching farmers with climate services that meet their adaptation and information needs, from Africa to South Asia. Evidence from village-level evaluations of India’s national Integrated Agrometeorological Advisory Service program (which recently announced plans to scale up to 10 million farmers) and Mali’s thirty-year-old farmer advisory program, Projet d’Assistance Agrometeorologique au Monde Rural (which has provided innovative advisory services to farmers since 1982), notably provided a rich reservoir of good practice and experiences.
Regional working groups identified existing strengths and gaps in their regions’ capacity for effectively producing and communicating farmer-focused climate services. Workshop participants converged around nine actionable and potentially fundable solutions to address current gaps.
The workshop also screened the IRI film “Voices from the Field: Benefits and Potential of Climate Information for Smallholder Farmers in Mali and India,” which showcased a ground-level look at how farmers access and benefit from agrometeorological advisory services run by their national meteorological agencies, accessible at the following link: http://vimeo.com/55448658
For further readings on this topic, please consult the following links:
By: Dr. Arame Tall, Climate Services- Scientist, Champion, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)firstname.lastname@example.org
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