Scaling up climate services for smallholder farmers: Learning from practice
These six papers in a special issue of Climate Risk Management presents innovations, insights and evidence from efforts to make climate services work for smallholder farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The first paper (PDF) investigates farmers’ perceptions about climate-related risks and trends and their consistency with historical climate records. Farmers’ perceptions of increasing temperature and changing rainfall patterns were consistent with observed data and identified agriculturally-important risks associated with climate change was accurate. The second article (PDF) examines the degree to which interventions reduce gaps between available climate services and farmers’ needs. Results showed that farmers are altering their agricultural practices in response to climate information. The third article (PDF) reveals that mobile phone-based information service reduced knowledge gaps, improved information use, and increased awareness about climate smart technologies and practices in farming communities, but adoption of CSA practices lagged behind awareness. Moreover, to be effective, technical improvement to the information available must be integrated into larger agricultural development strategy and requires coordination among farmers, managers and policy makers, concludes the fourth article (PDF). The fifth article (PDF) describes how Local Technical Agro-climatic Committees (LTACs) contribute to context seasonal forecasts: by dialogue between scientists and farmers, use of local data, validation of previous forecasts and investment in capacity building at local level. Finally, the last paper (PDF) highlights the importance of identifying the intended users and understanding how their identities, roles and responsibilities within larger agrarian communities to which they belong impact their climate service needs and ability to act on the information provided. The series comes with four program and policy recommendations: 1) support capacity building, learning and awareness within the context of climate change at local and national levels; 2) leverage existing knowledge, networks, partnerships and institutional strengths; 3) support knowledge transfer and; 4) aim to reduce power imbalances arising from differences in gender, wealth and access to resources.