Access to risk mitigating weather forecasts and changes in farming operations in East and West Africa: evidence from a Baseline Survey
Oyekale, Abayomi Samuel
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Unfavorable weather currently ranks among the major challenges facing agricultural development in many African countries. Impact mitigation through access to reliable and timely weather forecasts and other adaptive mechanisms are foremost in Africa’s policy dialogues and socio-economic development agendas. This paper analyzed the factors influencing access to forecasts on incidence of pests/diseases (PD) and start of rainfall (SR). The data were collected by Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and analyzed with Probit regression separately for East Africa, West Africa and the combined dataset. The results show that 62.7% and 56.4% of the farmers from East and West Africa had access to forecasts on start of rainfall, respectively. In addition, 39.3% and 49.4% of the farmers from East Africa indicated that forecasts on outbreak of pests/diseases and start of rainfall were respectively accompanied with advice as against 18.2% and 41.9% for West Africa. Having received forecasts on start of rainfall, 24.0% and 17.6% of the farmers from East and West Africa made decisions on timing of farming activities respectively. Probabilities of having access to forecasts on PD significantly increased with access to formal education, farm income and previous exposure to climatic shocks. Furthermore, probabilities of having access to forecasts on SR significantly increased (p < 0.05) with access to business income, radio and perception of more erratic rainfall, among others. It was recommended that promotion of informal education among illiterate farmers would enhance their climatic resilience, among others.