Capacity building

Improving Producers' Access to Agrometeorological Information

Melhorar o acesso dos produtores à informação agrometeorológica

Improving productivity remains a major concern in the face of the challenges due to climate change. In this context, agrometeorological information tailored to producers is an agricultural input in the same way as fertilisers, seeds, or seedlings. Numerous ECOWAS initiatives aim to facilitate this access.

Access to weather and climate information in real time makes it possible to better plan agricultural activities and increase agricultural productivity and production. It considerably reduces the risk of agricultural investment losses due to late and/or irregular rainfall. Through several mechanisms, including those supported by the regional project to promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, and Togo), funded by the Adaptation Fund through the West African Development Bank (BOAD) with an amount of US$14,000,000, the ECOWAS Commission is responding to the issue.

Thanks to the work of the CSA project, for example, the weather and climate observation networks for data collection and analysis in the five countries covered by the project have been expanded through the acquisition and installation of direct-reading rain gauge kits, thermometers, and anemometers. Besides, thanks to the mechanism supported by the project, 60,000 farmers, meaning about 5,000 farmers, now have access to agrometeorological information tailored to their needs.

Through capacity-building workshops, producers are grouped around a WhatsApp platform where climatic information relevant to their activities is shared daily. With the support of the AGRHYMET Regional Climate Centre for West Africa and the Sahel (CCR-AOS), producers have previously been trained to read and use agro-hydro-climatic information and its implications for agriculture at local level.

Success of such a process also requires the involvement of national meteorological services, which participate in the provision of climate services with a view to community resilience. Besides the best appropriate arrangements to be promoted as part of the paradigm shift, the need to develop capacities through improving assets of West Africa's human capital shall also be a priority for governments and regional intergovernmental organisations.