Meteorologists Create Incentives to Improve Climatic Services for Agriculturalists

Meteorologists have on Thursday afternoon met at Makerere University to draw plans on further dissemination of climatic, weather friendly services to different agriculturalists across the country to improve production and productivity.

Several times farmers from different localities in the country fail to project rainy and dry seasons for easier planting and cultivation of crops which has occasionally led to the infliction of losses to the agricultural sector.

Uganda’s population is predominantly agricultural with several farmers engaged in the subsistence agricultural sector. However, each time they plant food crops for sale and home consumption fail to get yields only because of the changing climate and limited knowledge on the weather conditions.

Now, the Weather Information Management, East Africa (WIMEA-ICT Lab), researchers from Makerere University, the National Agricultural Research Organization and a host of other agricultural research organizations are planning to improve the dissemination of agricultural information to different farmers across the country to ensure that weather and climate related changes are communicated to the farmers for easy planning when cultivating.

Dr Isaac Mugume, the project initiator speaking before meteorologists at Makerere University

Prof Charles PK Basaalirwa of the Department of Geography at Makerere University says, such information despite being needed by the farmers countrywide, there is need to simplify such information for farmers to understand.

“It is important and timely. It however needs to be understood by the end user if it to be useful,” Basaalirwa says.

Under this project, a code *255*85# has been instituted by institutions to ensure that a farmer in the localities can easily use their mobile phones to check and understand the weather changes.

Dr Julianne Sansa – Otim of WIMEA – ICT Lab

The tailoring of climate services for improved agricultural production and the provide accurate weather information to the common farmer was first called for by the Ministry of Agriculture, at the inception of the Agriculture Cluster Development Project.

It has also been implemented by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority through the institution of flag poles that offer weather warnings to fishermen in the Ssese islands to avoid effects of weather changes on Lake Victoria.

Muddu Yisto Kayingo, a farmer in Masaka District says such information would be timely for farmers across the country for as long as it is accurate and provided on time to easily help farmers make informed decisions before planting and cultivating.

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