Faced with frequent unpredictable dry spells, farmers rely on mobile climate advisories for critical and timely information to decide when to sow crops and when to store or release harvested rainwater in a village in Ghana.
In Jirapa district, the distribution of rain within the season is so erratic that it is difficult to predict for any cropping year.
Farmers often plant seeds two or three times before rains set in reliably.
Long spells of drought often punctuate the wet season, leading to partial or total crop failures. When this happens, it causes severe household food shortages and therefore acute malnutrition among children and women.
The region has extremely challenging conditions for farmers with high temperatures, erratic rainfall and eroded soils resulting in lower crop yields.
Climate change in Ghana is expected to take the form of more frequent and intense drought, increasing rainfall variability, and higher temperatures - from between 2°C to 4°C by 2100, or about 1.5 times higher than the global average (Nii et al. 2011). These changes are expected to affect crop yields and resource availability in a region already characterized by scarcity.
To address the problem the following interventions were made -
The development of the Climate Smart Village (CSV) starts with participatory diagnosis using a Toolkit for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation on Climate Change Adaptive capacities (TOP-MECCA) developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to analyze and perform monitoring and evaluation of the adaptive capacity to climate change (Somda et al., 2011).
The project team
Climate information services
Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMET) provides information on –
From this information, farmers in the region –
In 2015, an agreement was signed with Esoko a private mobile service provider for disseminating climate information and answering farmers’ queries.
Doggoh farmer Mampong Naa, who grows maize and millet, says he has benefitted from the farmer helpline.
Climate Smart Agriculture technologies
The community tested the following:
Capacity building trainings included
Local institutions and knowledge
With the support of CCAFS, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and in partnership with local partners in Ghana like Council for Scientific and Industrial Research - Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR/SARI), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), CSIR-Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (CSIR-FORIG) and Langmaal Centre for Rural Development Initiatives (LACERD) efforts were made to develop capacity of national institutions and community organizations in the region.
Village development plan
The plan reflects the vision of the community for CSV. The CSV is connected to platforms to catalyze the development plan at the district level. One of the specific objectives of these platforms is to advocate for policy and budgetary support for climate change, agriculture and food security adaptation and mitigation action.