Climate services are a critical tool for improving food security, particularly in Cameroon, which has been adversely affected by natural and man-made disasters for the past three decades. Training farmers in the use of climate information to make well-informed decisions on crop and planting choices can help mitigate the effects of climate change and variability on the country’s food security.
A roving seminar held in the northern province of Pitoa, on 12 July provided farmers with this particular type of training. The group of trainees included 29 farmers, authorities and staff from local institutions, 4 traditional leaders from the local communities, and 6 extension agents.
Based on the experience of the Western Africa countries and the specific needs of Cameroon, the seminar focused on topics such as the seed calendar, climate risks for specific crops in the region, and climate and weather information-based agricultural advice on planting date and crop variety selection. Farmers and local officials were also trained on the use of simple plastic raingauges and field observations. These observations, when combined with weather and climate forecasts received from the capital, provide farmers and local officials with crucial information for their decision-making based on their local and regional climate and weather conditions. It also provides a mechanism for official institutions to receive important feedback on weather and vegetation status in remote areas.
A collaborative effort between the non-governmental organization CARE International and the National Meteorological Service (DMN) of Cameroon, the seminar supports both the project RéSoFEMMES and the improvement of the raingauges network in Cameroon’s provinces, particularly those with bigger rainfall variability. The seminar’s joint implementation team was composed of experts from the DMN, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Transport. The CARE project is funded by the Cartier Charitable Foundation and supported by the WMO.
In the near future, more seminars will be held in support of the CARE project and the network of simple plastic raingauges to support rainfall observations will continue to be extended in the country. DMN Cameroon has requested to be a part of the upcoming METAGRI SERVICES project that aims to develop high quality climate and weather services for agriculture and food security in Western African countries, as well as Chad and Cameroon.