Leading the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation

What is it ?

Agroweather Tool for Climate Smart Agriculture

Informing Farmers to Increase Productivity, Manage Weather Induced Risks and Improve Food Security

Background:

Agriculture plays leading role in Ethiopian economy, providing food and generating revenues. However, agricultural productivity varies greatly by region due to climate risks of which daily, monthly and seasonal weather (intra-seasonal variability in temperature and rainfall) are main drivers. Climate change is also expected to exacerbate these adverse impacts. The policy implications of these challenges are far reaching, with respect to ensuring food security, trade policy, poverty reduction and natural resource management issues.

Appropriate tools are therefore of urgent importance to better translating raw climate data into usable and accessible information by all stakeholders and particularly by farmers for improved decisions. By translating climate information into actionable climate knowledge, an innovative decision support system comprising of ‘agro-weather tool’ that can facilitate farmers and extension personnel to better understand climate variability and associated risks. Further, this tool addresses a range of climate-sensitive decisions for the best agronomic management practices. Such agro-weather tools are key in unlocking the potentials embedded in the climate-smart agriculture through doing things differently to close the divide between climate information and alternative; but improved decisions, both pre and during the cropping season.

Dissemination tools:

Under this pilot project following applications have been developed as an agro-advisory dissemination mechanism: 1) Website; 2) SMS module; 3) IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) system; and 4) Android app.

Agro Advisories:

This pilot agro-weather tool currently includes the advisories for the pre-cultivation strategic and tactical decisions to be made through the crop growing phases (i.e., post-sowing to harvest stage). Pre-cultivation and phase based crop growth calendar are important to be attended carefully, because they cannot be postponed, often irreversible and represent a substantial allocation of resources, with a wide ranging consequences on agricultural productivity and profitability in any given growing season. Through this agro-weather tool, advisories can be generated for four major crops i.e., Wheat, Teff, Lentil, and Chickpea); an information that can be disseminated to the subscribing farmers using the individual mobile phone. Already inbuilt into the tool, the following are examples of seasonal weather forecast based advisories, which are required by the farmers to manage their crops properly. Advisory to plan for “Land Preparation and Crop Sowing Date” which will be generated based on the “Rainfall Onset Date”. Advisory for the selection of “Crop Type and Crop Variety” which will be generated based on the “Seasonal Rainfall Forecast”. Advisory for the selection of “Crop Type and Crop Variety” which will be generated based on the “Seasonal Temperature Forecast” information. Advisory for the “Irrigation Application in the event of Rainfall Deficit or get ready to Drain Out Water from the Land in the event of Excess Rainfall”. This advisory will be generated based on the “Monthly Rainfall Forecast” information.

  • Advisory to plan for “Land Preparation and Crop Sowing Date” which will be generated based on the “Rainfall Onset Date”.
  • Advisory for the selection of “Crop Type and Crop Variety” which will be generated based on the “Seasonal Rainfall Forecast”.
  • Advisory for the selection of “Crop Type and Crop Variety” which will be generated based on the “Seasonal Temperature Forecast” information.
  • Advisory for the “Irrigation Application in the event of Rainfall Deficit or get ready to Drain Out Water from the Land in the event of Excess Rainfall”. This advisory will be generated based on the “Monthly Rainfall Forecast” information.
  • Advisory to plan for “Fertilizer Application” which will be generated based on the “5 Days Rainfall Forecast” information.
  • Advisory to plan for the “Harvest” which will be generated based on the “5 Days Rainfall Forecast” information.
  • Advisory for “Likelihood of Infestation with Pest & Disease” which will be generated based on the “Monthly Relative Humidity Forecast” information, if available.

Key Benefits:

The key benefits arising from the agroweather tool website, SMS modules, IVRS system, and Android apps is to help disseminate vital information in a variety of formats and in a timely manner for farmers to better plan and manage weather risks, maximize productivity, and minimize the environmental impacts of farming practices.

This tool has been developed by RMSI Pvt. Ltd., India with the support of EIAR (Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research) and financed by The World Bank under the Bank Netherlands Partnership Program (BNPP) Sustainable Development and Climate Change Window (SDCC).