Guest blog from aWhere partner M-Omulimisa
Access to accurate and dependable weather information has always been a challenge to farmers in Uganda and the developing world in general. Lacking local weather information leads to less confidence on what and when to apply farm inputs leading to lower farm productivity, higher production costs, and increased risk of crop losses due to weather. For most emerging economies, public weather stations are often far away and less relevant for local decision-making.
aWhere has partnered with M-Omulimisa to offer Ugandan farmers mobile phone and web access to accurate, locally observed and forecast weather data to inform farm operations. The service is currently available in 7 local languages including, Luganda, Runyankore, Runyoro/Rutooro, Lumasaaba, Kakwa, Lugbara, Acholi, and Lango. Over 2,000 farmers across the country have benefited from the service since its launch in July 2021.
The service has helped farmers plan their farming activities better, spend less on farm inputs, get higher yields and increase farm income. Clare Namanya, a farmer in Kakumiro district, says the service has helped her plan activities better on her 3-acre onion and tomato farm. “When I receive information that it will rain the next day and the amount of rain expected is good enough, I don’t have to waste resources on irrigation. Similarly, timely weather information helps us plan the right time to spray our tomatoes. When we receive information that it is going to rain on a certain day, we adjust our spraying routine accordingly so that the chemicals are not washed away by the rain.”
To increase usage of the service among farming communities, we plan to promote and market the product through mass media, social media, farmer events among others. We will also continue to translate the information to more local languages. Ultimately we want to empower Ugandan farmers to make climate smart decisions that result in increased their farm production, profitability and reduced risk of crop failure against the backdrop of climate change.