A new Rwf600 million project is set to enhance climate change information services and disaster risk reduction for farmers, according to Rwanda Metrological Agency.
The initiative, which will be developed in the next 21 months, will increase access to timely early warning services, according to Desire Kagabo, the project leader.
“Seasonal forecast must be mainstreamed into agricultural extension services programme, ‘Twigire Muhinzi’, and agriculture planning, especially to be able to deliver climate services and information for rural farmers,” he said.
He explained that 210 radio listeners’ clubs, composed of farmers, will be created in 14 districts along with climate information which they will also disseminate through extension services groups agriculture.
There will also be TV displays in sector offices and farmers’ cooperatives site to help enhance climate information.
“We have a radar that can scan the whole country every 7 minutes on climate status through weather automatic stations that can disseminate the information to farmers,” he said.
The climate information services, he said, will be able to reach at least 3 million farmer promoters grouped under agriculture extension groups, ‘Twigire Muhinzi’.
The Ministry of Agriculture can plan based on the information available taking into account projected quantity of rains, and the likelihood of dry spells and advise farmers on best crops to be planted accordingly.
This season A, farmers across the country were affected by lack of rains because they had no information on weather patterns.
Farmers said they planted because the rains were expected to fall in September at the start of Season A but this was largely not the case.
Abel Urimubenshi, a farmer from Bugesera District, said that he had planted maize on one hectare and lost it all due to dry spells.