Agro-Weather Tool for Climate-Smart Agriculture tested in Kenya and Ethiopia

An agro-weather tool, the Agro-weather Decision Support System(DSS) is being implemented in Kenya and Ethiopia on a pilot project.

The  World Bank, in association with RMSI is developing a system to help farmers plan and manage weather risks to minimize the environmental impacts of farming practices. The Agro-weather Decision Support System

The project is aimed at improving access to information about weather forecasting and changes in climate patterns by the farming communities. This will enable the farmers to adapt and plan well when planting crops and improve their farm management practices amid changing weather and climate risk.

The pilot project is expected to commence in Embu District, Kenya and Ada’a District, Ethiopia. This will involve developing a mobile application that the users will use to access the weather information and get recommendations on the best management practices. Also there will be the development of another application to disseminate the information in the form of SMS to the farming communities.

Another way is through the Interactive Voice Response(IVRS) module which will be developed to disseminate information through voice to the farming communities in their local languages. World Bank will also use other conventional media such as radio messages.

To harness the information and help in identifying the most apt choices for a specific area, the World Bank plans to connect the tools to a database and a decision support model linked to climate information. The database will be hosted on NAFIS server in Kenya and EIAR server in Ethiopia.

The World Bank also plans to initiate capacity building and knowledge dissemination workshops, this is aimed at strengthening the stakeholders in the agricultural sector by training them on how to better understand the climate variability and further expose them to online tools and strategies to help farmers access the quality information.

RMSI IT services

RMSI is a global IT services company providing geospatial and software services to clients across the globe, in sectors ranging from utilities, wireless telecommunications, land information management, agriculture & natural resources, and risk and insurance.

Agriculture is one of the key drivers of kenya economy

Agriculture is a key driver of the Kenyan economy, contributing directly to about 26 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to a Kenya Economic Report, 2013. The sector directly employs 18 percent of Kenyans and supports 60 percent of total employment. It is also the main source of livelihood for almost 80 per cent of Kenya’s population living in rural areas. According to the World Bank, this tool will help study how these farmers can maximise farming productivity that largely relies on rainfall.