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REPORT: Improving Seasonal Forecast Information for Managing On-farm Decisions

Managing seasonal climate risks for food production more effectively is a critical challenge in southern Africa where highly variable rainfed environments and projected long-term increases aridity pose serious risks to agriculture in the region. Seasonal climate forecasts are an important planning tool at the farm level that can lead to better management of seasonal climate risks and instil processes useful to longer-term adaptation. However, at present, farmer access to existing seasonal forecasts is poor, and the ability of farmers to properly interpret such information to benefit farming operations is inadequate (Johnston, 2011).

This report, Improving Seasonal Forecast Information for Managing On-farm Decisions, examines how seasonal forecast development and delivery could be enhanced by testing the ability of downscaled climate forecasts to improve information available from seasonal forecasts; by assessing the use of an optimisation procedure to guide tactical decision making; and subsequently indicate where improvements in communicating seasonal forecast information could be made.

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This project and publication has been produced as part of the START call for research on the theme of ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security’ in Africa, with an emphasis on the sustainability of ecosystem services in Africa. Objectives of this call are to commission high quality, independent, policy-relevant and credible research to support policy making for sustainable development in the region, to build the capacities of regional research partners to conduct high level research and to create a platform for knowledge sharing at the regional level. The funding has been provided by US National Science Foundation, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and CDKN.

START homepage: START
Research call information: Regional Research Call – Africa

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Image credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT

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