26 August 2009

Philippines: Farmers call for better dissemination of weather information

An article in the Business Mirror reports on a paper from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

The paper recommends better strategies for disseminating information on climate and the weather and the construction of small-scale irrigation systems as strategies that can be undertaken by concerned government agencies to enable rice and corn farmers to cope with climate change.

“There is still a wide array of applicable tools that could help agricultural workers mitigate environmental challenges and decide intelligently in the face of seasonal uncertainties ...most important to consider in any development effort is the fit of the intervention on the needs and situations of the target population,” it said.

PIDS researchers noted that among the most pressing concerns aired by farmers is the absence of localized climate/weather forecasts. “Farmers really need to be provided with specific localized meteorological service if they are truly to gain the edge in the battle against seasonal climate variability. Another challenge is the lack of time-series data that can be used for developing forecasting models. There are no meteorological stations in all of the municipalities, It also noted existing meteorological stations which are relatively new or less than 50 years old do not have data long enough to establish significant patterns.

Aside from television and radio, the paper said government agencies could consider publishing print materials in layman form and written in the local dialect to disseminate weather and climate information.“An insured, well-informed and well-funded farmer has a better chance of surviving the challenges offered by seasonal climate variability,” said the PIDS researchers.

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