Adaptation to climate change: 2 Model farms to train farmers
Two model farms have been set up in the Yilo Krobo District of the Eastern Region to help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change and the changing weather system.
This has been done with the aim of demonstrating to farmers how they could use timely weather information to manage their farms, improve yields and farm sustainably.
The project is an initiative of a company with expertise in tropical weather forecasting, Ignatia Ghana, Ignitia has, over the years, been supporting farmers in the tropic areas with climate intelligence solutions with the aim of addressing the problems of low accuracy in weather forecasts in the tropics.
It also provides crop specific climate smart advisory which are co-designed with food system stakeholders and delivers this information to the farmers via SMS, and other simple smartphones apps.
During a visit to two of the demonstration sites at Obawale and Sodjonu in the Yilo Krobo District, Ignitia's Regional Director for Africa, Kwabena Frimpong, said the goal was to furnish farmers with dependable SMS forecasts to enable them to mitigate the risks and to minimise losses in their various communities.
He said the demonstration farms in the Eastern Region were for the farmers to confirm “if really our technology is the world’s first and most accurate tropical weather forecasting company with over 84 per cent reliability.”
Mr Frimpong indicated that the company had been working with small-scale farmers in Ghana and West Africa since 2015 and the impact was already being felt.
“We are based in Ghana, but have expanded into Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Togo, Nigeria, among others.
Our weather model is dependent on satellite data and our ability to expand is not hindered by the high costs of creating on-ground infrastructure.
“Climate change poses a significant threat to food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the tropics and more than 96 per cent of cultivated land is rain-fed,” he stated.
The Municipal Extension Officer, Dr Francis Nii Clottey Odonkor, admitted that the demonstration farms were encouraging farmers to embrace the innovation introduced by the company.
“This tool enables us to give more frequent and district-level predictions of rainfall, dryness, and drought which helps us to provide advanced warnings to farmers in the various communities.
“It’s helping farmers and growers to prepare in advance ahead of planting or spraying pesticides on their crops,” he said.
Dr Odonkor was impressed with the services of ignatia saying that “all this while, we were looking for a more accurate medium-term forecast, that will enable us to make reactive decisions all the time and having as much information as we can, around an uncontrollable thing like the weather, is really helpful in the farming business.”
Business Advisor of ignitia Ghana, Miranda Osei Agyemang, said their services were very affordable and farmers paid as low as 20Gp a day for SMS services.
“One of the significant advantages of our SMS weather alert system is the provision of real-time weather updates; instead of relying on outdated forecasts, our users receive up-to-date information directly on their mobile device and they do not need internet connectivity or smart phones.
She said this enabled the farmers to stay informed about the changing weather and plan accordingly.
The over 60 farmers, who joined in the field visit, were grateful to Ignitia Ghana for introducing the SMS weather alert service in the Yilo Krobo District.
They said the alerts were timely and delivered straight to their phones and specific to their locations and preferences.
Users could select the types of alerts they wish to receive, such as severe weather warnings, temperature fluctuations, or air quality alerts.
“This customisation ensures that individuals receive alerts relevant to their specific location and interests” said John Kwame Mautsuemi, 2022 district best farmer and Regina Nartey Atta, a maize farmer from Obawale.