Agriculture continues to play a very important role in most of our traditional economies, as a major contributor to export earnings and as a source of employment and livelihood. However, the productivity of the sector is highly influenced by weather and climate, which at times are not favourable. For a long time, there was a missing link between climate information products and their utilisation by end user farmers. This project attempted to comprehensively evaluate the applicability of community based climate services in improving livelihoods of vulnerable farmers. It successfully demonstrated that community-based climate services can undoubtedly improve Agricultural productivity if properly utilized in planning, decision-making and management of all farming operations. Its major aim was to contribute to community level climate risk reduction in agriculture and food security sector through development and dissemination of community demand-driven climate information for application in agricultural planning, decision-making and management. The project was a joint collaborative effort of many partners (including Kenya Meteorological Services (KMS), University of Nairobi, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Technical University of Kenya, National Drought Management Authority of Kenya, and other National and International Partners and Local Governments of Kisumu and Kajiado, among others). The partners had specific roles but worked together to provide community-specific advisories for climate risk reduction based on integrated local community knowledge and modern climate forecasts. It was supported by The Rockefeller Foundation.
Some of the benefits/outcomes of the project include the following:
Average yield increment of 3-4 times (sorghum & Maize) compared to baselines (table 2)
Higher multiplier effect (over 1:120 for sorghum)
Food and nutrient diversification through various crops (maize, sorghum, beans, green grams, groundnuts, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and sweet cassava)
More awareness – farmers are now able to plan & make choices based on the anticipated weather/climate. They feel the forecasts are very reliable.
More food produced & stored – food is now available till the next harvest; this has shortened the duration of normal hunger periods
Pasture and water resources are better managed – the livestock condition scores remain high longer than ever, even during and after long dry spells
Farmers are generating more income from the sale of surplus produce
Osiram Maasai Women bought over 40 (fourty) heifers for restocking their herds using income generated from sale of grass seeds and hay
Farmers have realized more social benefits – there are currently less & less household (husband-wife) conflicts and separation because of the availability of adequate food
The project has attracted more investors like beer companies to hire sorghum farmers to produce beer-type sorghum
Minimal or no destruction of crops by pests and diseases as farmers learnt new skills of managing both. A good example is the way farmers managed Maize lethal Necrotic disease and striga weed.
Proper land management including control of soil erosion and agro-forestry
1. Engagement of an Expert on Agrometeorology
2. Inception Workshop
3. Identification of Pilot Sites and Communities
4. Identification of Project Stakeholders
5. Needs Assessment Survey in Selected sites
6. Development of Project Methodology
7. Downscaling of Climate Forecasts to Improve its Application to Reduce Climate Related Risks in Agriculture and Allied Sectors
8. Generation of Community-specific Climate Forecasts
9. Development of Location-specific Forecast Related Advisories
10. Dissemination of the climate information and related agro-advisories to farming Communities
11. Feedback and Verification of the Disseminated Products and the Quantification of the Benefits of Community-based Climate Services
12. Conducting Baselines Studies
13. Validation of Information and Products and Feedback
14. Advocacy Meetings with Policy Makers and Building Partnerships
15. Cost Benefit Analysis
16. Development of Policy Briefs
17. Project Monitoring and Evaluation (Continuous project monitoring, external mid and end of Pproject evaluation)
18. Setting up Communication Centres
19. Mapping of project sites
1. Provide technical capacity for the coordination and development of downscaled agro-based climate tools and products at ICPAC by engaging an expert on agrometeorology to coordinate agro-climate pillar activities at ICPAC.
2. Downscaling of climate information and products for application in Agriculture and food security sectors at all levels to reduce climate variability and change related risks through capacity building workshops for climate and agriculture experts to develop and adopt the methodologies.
3. Conduct a baseline study to establish the current status of crop agriculture and pastoral systems at the pilot sites with respect to use of climate information.
4. To timely deliver agrometeorological products and services (information, warnings, and advisories) on climate related risk to agriculture and allied sectors in partnerships with National Meteorological services and other relevant institutions.
5. Feedback and verification of the disseminated products and quantification of the benefits accrued from the usage of the products.
6. To provide scientific evidence to influence government policy formulation for incorporating climate information in agricultural decision making
Down-scaled, well interpreted climate and related information for use by farmers
Timely communication to the intended users
Integration with the use of new technologies like drought tolerant crops and livestock breeds
Alternative investments to generate additional income from other climate-smart businesses
Continued proliferation of climate extremes and
Outbreak of pests and diseases