Senegal’s farmers adopt new tool to boost harvests: mobile phones

Posted by , posted on Wednesday June 22 2016(2 years ago)

When birds and clouds are no longer an accurate indicator of rain, text messages can step in


SIKILO, Senegal June 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Walking through his dry millet field, Alioune Djaby, chief of Sikilo village, waits for a sign that rainfall is coming.

Normally, he would look for clouds in the sky or birds singing. This time though, he’s expecting a text message from the National Agency of Civil Aviation and Meteorology.

Senegalese farmers have long relied on traditional weather indicators, such as trees blooming or where birds set their nests, to manage their crops. But those have become unreliable as a result of increasingly variable weather patterns in the region.

To remedy this, the meteorological agency launched a free weather information service via text message with the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security last August, after testing it with a group of 33 farmers for five years.

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