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Fasco Idfonce Chengula
Brigitte Nyambo
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Brigitte Nyambo
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International Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension

Dissemination of agricultural weather forecasts under weather and climate variability: a case of the smallholder farmers in Moshi rural District, Tanzania

Fasco Chengula and Brigitte Nyambo

Centre for Climate Change Studies, University of Dar es Salaam; P. O. Box 33453, Tanzania.

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, (ICIPE), P. O. Box 30772-00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

Accepted 03 June, 2016

Citation: Chengula F, Nyambo B (2017). Dissemination of agricultural weather forecasts under weather and climate variability: a case of the smallholder farmers in Moshi rural District, Tanzania. International Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 3(1): 048-057.

Copyright: © 2017 Chengula and Nyambo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Abstract

Since its formation in 1978, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has continued to provide agricultural weather forecasts among other climate products. However, the uptake and use of these weather forecasts by target end users under changing environment is uncertain. In this paper, production and dissemination pathways of agricultural weather forecasts in Tanzania with a focus to Moshi Rural District are presented. A combination of participatory research approaches and household surveys were used to explore perceptions of local communities on dissemination, application and reliability of agricultural weather forecasts. While the study shows that 96% of farmers depend on climate and weather information for on-farm decision making, only 40% of farming communities rely on TMA weather forecasts. The rest of farmers rely on indigenous knowledge-based weather forecasts. The TMA seasonal weather forecasts lack local/area specific focus. The forecasts relates to area-wide patterns, amounts, distribution, onset and offset of rains, its associated impacts and advisories on possible actions to be taken by users in risk areas. TMA forecasts are unpopular because of too high degree of local unreliability in terms of spatial and temporal distribution and use of technical language. Challenges of packaging and dissemination of seasonal agricultural weather forecasts to smallholder farmers by TMA were identified, and some suggestion on the way forward made.

Key words: Weather forecast, communication pathways, Tanzania.