Scaling-up pathways of last mile climate information services for community resilience in Uganda and Kenya
Crop yields in Africa have fallen over the years, leading to a decline in per capita food production. There is a global consensus that unless urgent action is taken, this situation will be aggravated by climate variability and change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Africa should adapt to climate change because adaptation will guarantee benefits now and in future. However, adaptation is information-intensive, and farmers in Africa lack access to climate information in user-friendly formats and within an acceptable lead time to enable them to make informed decisions to minimize losses and maximize the opportunities presented by climate variability and change.
A climate information generation and dissemination tool that was developed and piloted by an IDRC-funded project in Uganda can help bridge this gap. The tool leverages the use of mobile phones and traditional technologies such as community loudspeakers and FM radio transmissions. It has enabled more than 200,000 farmers (49% women), to reduce crop losses and damage by 50-65%. The challenge now is to scale up the model to the rest of Uganda and across Africa.
This project, implemented in Uganda and Kenya, aims to support the scale up of the model. Like other parts of the continent, these two countries have low crop yields. Particularly in Kenya, cereal yields rarely exceed 1.5 tons per hectare, less than half of those realized in other parts of the world. Thus, approximately 30% of Kenya’s population is chronically hungry and more than 40% live in abject poverty. Similarly, Uganda has a cereal yield of only 2 tons per hectare.
It is anticipated that the project will enhance agricultural productivity and incomes when climate information is used and adaptive actions taken by farming households. It will produce skilled manpower expected to implement, manage, and sustain the scaled-up climate information services. Furthermore, the project will produce a rich body of knowledge and propose the policy framework and institutional arrangements required to realize impact at scale, which can inform similar scaling initiatives in the region and beyond. With the knowledge generated, the project has the potential to inform climate policy review in Kenya and climate legislation being drafted in Uganda.