University of Southern Queensland (USQ) researchers will soon begin working with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Vietnam on a major aid project to benefit farmers and agribusiness in South East Asia.
The $12 million International Klimat Initiative (IKI) will encompass seasonal climate forecasting and innovative insurance solutions to manage climate risk for both the short and longer term horizons.
The project will develop resilient climate risk management systems, best practices and insurance products, to shield smallholder farmers and agri-businesses engaged in the coffee, sugar, rice, cassava, and grazing industries, from physical and financial disaster associated with climate variability.
USQ’s internationally renowned climate expert, Professor Roger Stone, will head up the University’s project team that will collaborate with partners including WMO, CIAT in Hanoi and insurance broker Willis Towers Watson in London.
Mr Stone is currently President of WMO’s Commission for Agricultural Meteorology and is also an expert team leader within the WMO Commission for Climatology.
“The four-year international aid project will assist relevant governments in developing national and regional adaptation and risk management strategies in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar,” Mr Stone said.
“The development and delivery of reliable seasonal climate forecasting will not only better prepare farmers and businesses for extremes of climate under climate change but also enable farmers to become considerably more resilient.”
Mr Stone said the development of more effective agricultural insurance products would create a long-lasting benefit to farmers, businesses, and governments in South East Asia, and the involvement of national research partners, associations, and cooperatives would also contribute to enhanced capacity building within the region.
“The project objective of ensuring that farmers have access to the latest climate information is consistent with WMO’s mission and mandate. WMO looks forward to working with the University of Southern Queensland on this project”, said Robert Stefanski, Chief of the WMO Agricultural Meteorology Division.
The research behind IKI is also the driver behind the Northern Australian Climate Program (NACP), launched earlier this year.
NACP is an $8 million partnership between USQ, the Queensland Government and Meat & Livestock Australia, to arm primary producers with climate risk management tools and technologies to boost their productivity.