Prototype climate information services for agriculture against pluviometric extremes in the West African Sahel

11:15 Thursday 30 May


Room S8


Seyni Salack (Burkina Faso) 1


The exposure and vulnerability of rural communities and farming systems to pluviometric extremes such as the false onset of rainy season, heavy rain events, long dry spells, seasonal floods, and droughts can subsequently increase food insecurity and disasters risks on life and property.

Can pluviometric extremes be identified and exploited to improve farm productivity? To explore this challenging question, we developed a value chain of within a community of practice and co-production of site-specific climate information services (CIS). The focus is on ‘false onset’, ‘extreme dry spells’, ‘heavy rain’ events and customized farming options, disseminated via mobile phones in the form of user-package called AgInfo and implemented in participatory ‘agro-climatic farm-schools’. The AgInfo package is supported by other supplementary actions including the construction of on-farm facilities against extreme rainfall. To enable fast and long-term uptake of the framework by local farmers, incentives are created for women farmers and secondary school students assisting their parents in the application of AgInfo in millet, maize, sorghum, and cowpea farming. Results from the 2016/2017/2018 field observations show that individual farm production has increased despite the occurrence of some pluviometric extremes. However, labor and land productivity are unevenly distributed across pilots sites due to the slow resolve of all field complexities. This prototype of CIS for smallholder farming is tested across in 120 farms around Ouahigouya and Dano (Burkina Faso), and Bolgatanga (Northern Ghana). The whole concept is an agro-climatic innovation, in the management and delivery of climate knowledge to strengthen resilience to climate-related hazards, scalable to West African Sahel.