Agriculture is one of Africa’s major economic sectors. Because of agriculture’s susceptibility to fluctuations in climate, Africa’s economic gains and advances in social development are also equally at risk of climate change. Unless a better scientific understanding of the potential impacts changing weather may have on this core sector is developed, Africa’s sustainable development agenda is threatened. This is where climate information services play a major role: It will allow for better coping mechanisms in the agricultural sector in response to large weather fluctuations.
Climate information services will involve the collection and distribution of climate data, including temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture, ocean conditions and extreme weather indicators. This will allow policymakers to make the most informed decisions, and governments to involve evidence-based information and climate policies into their planning. It will also allow farmers to plan and prepare the most suitable farming strategies and will no longer have to be at the mercy of unpredictable climates.
For example, with access to rainfall information, farmers can plant and harvest their crops at the most suitable times of the year, as well as prepare for pests and diseases. Through these methods, they will be able to boost their productivity and reap the benefits of higher yields. Lower post-harvest losses will also be a positive aspect of climate information services, as extreme weather conditions that may affect infrastructure and communication can be predicted, meaning market access can be timed accordingly and will no longer have to be a cause for concern.
Climate Information services are defined as the packaging and dissemination of climate information to specific users, and it is an essential process in ensuring that Africa suitably responds to threats presented by climate change.