Week 3: What are the links between agricultural production and weather?

Hi @IMaiga,

Thank you for your good question. Personally I think broadcasters/journalist are intermediary of information. Here I mean that, you take information from the source i.e. Weather reports, online services etc then you process it to something that will benefit your audience. Here is the role played by the journalist in Beep-4-weather service, Rotilinde (broadcaster/journalist) used to gather Weather Forecasts from different sources. We used different sources so as to improve the predictability of the forecast. So Rotilinde would use online services such as Weather Channel, Toto Agriculture and compare the forecasts from all and information provided by Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) to come up with a forecast that farmers can understand. In both of these reports as you can see you will find that they are presented in scientific format. So Rotilinde would have to translate them into something that farmers can understand. For example, instead of saying 32 degrees of centigrate, she would say it will be very hot in this region. Or instead of 11 mm of Rain, she would say you will experience shower in this region.

After having this piece done, then Rotilinde (broadcaster/journalist), will do an interview with an expert to advice farmers about this forecast. What does this forecast mean to farming activities. Then she would put together and edit the whole content and produce a three minutes audio piece which is a complete weather information suitable for her audience in this case farmers. We also used to share this audio piece with the radio stations, so that they can use them in their farmers programs.

So @IMaiga I think you have all the skills needed i.e. Broadcasting Skills as well as Journalism. You have sources for the information too, there is a lot of online tools there but for accountability I think it is better to involve the local sources.

Kassim Sheghembe

Hi @Peter_Balaba,

I agree with you that we should not give up giving weather updates just because they are predictions. In all areas of our lives we make decisions based on predictions and sometimes we are wrong and that is okay. What I am suggesting here is to find a way to make our audience understand this. If not they will lose trust with the information provided by the radio. It will harm the TRUST WORTHINESS of our medias.

We need to find a way to talk about this, so that our audiences are comfortable when it does not rain in the area even though it was Forecasted to rain.

Dear All,

About the the weather forecast farmers say they are very keen now to know but also reveal it is not 100% depended on.They further say that at times meteorologists predict the best the worst come, when they promise the worst nothing happens.

However they say they are happy because Uganda National Meteorology Authority is reaching out to them with messages in local languages and the farmers in landslide prone areas like Bududa in Eastern Uganda say they can use the information to relocate with their livestock ahead of time.
They have also been able to use the drainage system to manage soil erosion and practicing water harvesting.

Yes I do use weather reports regularly if not in my broadcasts, I am in constant touch with Uganda National Meteorology Authority who are always updating me on weather reports that I broadcast in our daily News Hour Program. I also host the weather experts int the program or visit their offices for the radio interviews on weather. In last night’s program for example I interviewed the Executive Director Uganda National Meteorology Authority Mr. Festus Luboyera about the current onset of the rains. He said the country is going to received near to normal rains of slightly over 70% which he explained is good news for the farmers.
He calls upon the farmers to start preparing their inputs, and plant long maturing crops because the rain is going to last three months. I am next week programming to visit Uganda National Farmers Federation for a similar interview.

I have not used traditional weather predictions in my program yet not even the rain makers although I hear about them. I used to witness light showers during the dry season in the mountains of Mbale and I was told that farmers were hiring rain makers to release rain to water their onions, tomatoes and cabbages. It still exits up to now but I have scientific evidence. But when I get closer to one in future I will speak to him or her.

Hi everyone, in Africa weather is a major pillar that holds agricultural production. The weather determines so many factors such as :

  1. Onset of farming season
  2. Type of crop to plant
  3. Type of farming practice and methods
  4. Type of implements used
  5. Onset of harvest and harvesting techniques
  6. Storage periods and techniques
  7. When to market produce and price levels
    In modern times, farmers need accurate weather information in order to improve farming.
    Many farmers in my area have mix feelings on the reliability of weather information. I then the past, the only source of weather information accessible to farmers was weather reports by the Ghana Meteorological Agency on daily news broadcast on National television and radio. However, the advancement of technology especially telecommunications has really been able to make farmers have access to weather information.
    Many farmers didn’t see weather reports from National Meteorological Agency as reliable.
    Recently GiZ and it’s partner through the Climate Change project made available real-time area specific weather information to farmers through mobile phone and many of them in surveys rely on this.
    As a broadcaster, with insight from FRI, weather information is a mandatory part of my farmer program.
    I broadcast weekly weather information to farmers and even further show how they can use mobile phones to access the information on their own.
    These information is translated into the local language and the instructions for access on mobile phones also translated into the local language for better understanding.
    Of course modernization don’t really mean that there are no indigenous methods of predicting the weather.
    And so I incorporate these knowledge in giving weather information. The best way is by soliciting from experienced farmers some of these methods and sorting the most reliable ones for use.
    Example: cloud and wind movements

Honestly farmers in Malawi and in our community in particular have lost trust in weather forecasts. Years ago in the country when climate was normal farmers used to have what we call the first rains which were also planting rains. But now days we no longer have such rains everybody plants whenever he feels like so or if satisfied with the amount of rains which is happening in intervals like once a month or in three weeks so you would find those who planted early harvesting or those who planted late harvesting according to the rain fall pattern of that particular year.
I have used weather reports in my programs especially rainy season of 2014/2015 where we used to have a lot of floods.
I haven’t used traditional forecast but currently we are planning to start incorporating them because farmers in our community think these are very effective and accurate as compared to science. technology.

Thanks for the information. I will follow up with the persons in charge. Thank again.