Around 120 Roving Seminars on Weather and Climate are being held in 15 Western African countries from July to September. The objective of these seminars is to make farmers become more self-reliant in dealing with weather and climate issues that affect agricultural production on their farms and to increase the interaction between the farmers and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.
The organization of the workshops follows a successful four year pilot project in West Africa spearheaded by the World Meteorological Organization which trained 5 700 subsistence farmers – including 1 000 rural women - in how to access and use weather and climate information to maximize yields and minimize risks in a region which is vulnerable to both floods and droughts.
More targeted weather and climate information can increase preparedness and lead to better economic, social, and environmental outcomes for farmers. Given the current concerns with climate change and it’s impacts on crop productivity, there is an urgent need to sensitize farmers about the projected climate change in their regions and the different adaptation strategies that can adopted. Examples of more general decisions that can be aided by targeted weather and climate information include strategic and tactical crop management options, agricultural commodity marketing, and policy decisions about future agricultural land use.
Typically the Roving Seminars are of one-day duration and bring together farmers from a group of villages to a centralized location in any given region. Farmers are given information in local language on aspects of weather and climate in the region, including climate change topics and better risk management. They then provide feedback on the weather and climate issues in their farming operations and the nature of assistance they need.
The Seminars are organized by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services in cooperation with other institutions, mainly agriculture extension services. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is helping fund the activities.