Ignitia has taken another cautious step by introducing the new weather tool for the agricultural sector in Ghana and other parts of West Africa.
This is part of efforts to help address the challenges hampering the country’s agricultural sectors; Ignitia, a technology company based on tropical weather forecasts, is the first and most accurate tropical weather forecast company in the world and has an reliability of over 84%.
Forecasts are delivered to West African farmers via SMS in partnership with mobile network operators. The product is a 48-hour forecast message, sent daily by SMS, directly to the subscriber’s telephone.
The forecasts also feature monthly and seasonal forecasts and detail the probability, timing and intensity of weather conditions. He was speaking at a one-day open house conference held in Tamale titled “From Storm Forecasts to Thinking About Climate-Smart Agriculture Solutions” for stakeholders and actors in agribusiness within the agricultural value chain.
Reduce risks and losses
They are being taught how to use the new weather tool and its benefits for stakeholders, Africa Regional Director, Ignitia, Kwabena Frimpong explained that since 2015 they have been working closely with smallholder farmers in Ghana and across South Africa. ‘West to provide them with reliable forecasts to reduce risk and loss.
“Originally based in Ghana, we have expanded to Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria. Since our weather model is dependent on satellites, our ability to expand is not hampered by the high costs of creating ground infrastructure at each location; this means that expansion into new tropical areas is easier and still relatively inexpensive. We plan to continue our expansion into Africa and other tropical climates in the years to come.
“This open house conference has extended an invitation to potential customers, farmer organizations, input dealers, aggregators, food and beverage industries and other players in the agricultural value chain. agricultural industry. We are very excited about this flagship project and we thank our partners in particular the GIZ Water & Energy for Food (WE4F) project for their great support and interest in our tool for agribusiness stakeholders” he mentioned.
Ignitia scientific director Andreas Vallgren said African farmers are often portrayed as unintelligent, but that is not the case.
“What farmers need is reliable information and access to technology to make more informed decisions. Farmers know how to farm, we just give them a tool to improve their farming practices. Our simplistic text format has been tested and fine-tuned for optimal comprehension even in low-literacy areas and has an 84% accuracy, our predictions are more than twice as accurate as global producers. Weather affects industries around the world. Every year, billions of dollars are lost due to climate variability,” he revealed.
Information on weather conditions
Director of Agricultural Extension Service at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Paul Siameh, said farmers in Ghana are struggling with low crop yield due to unpredictable weather conditions.
“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has launched a pilot program to help smallholder farmers with weather information in the five northern regions of Ghana. We are targeting approximately 1.7 million smallholder farmers to enroll them in its exercise; our goal is to help them strengthen their agronomic and technological expertise in the agricultural value chain and to be able to withstand the vagaries of climate change,” he said.
Team Leader, Private Sector EU – GIZ, Dr Andrew Harberd, said agricultural businesses are experiencing the effects of our changing climate first hand.
“Having a more accurate long-term weather tool that goes far beyond what is possible today gives farmers a critical advantage for resource planning and preparing for increasing climate disruptions; and we are delighted that Ignitia has introduced this tool. This helps agribusinesses better anticipate the needs of their customers and proactively place the right products at the right time to maximize the benefits realized,” he said.
A farmer in the Eastern Region of Ghana where the tool was tested revealed that Ignitia’s tool helped him better plan when to plant, apply fertilizer, spray pesticides and harvest.
“I see up to 80% increase in my income, due to reduced risk and loss. No smartphone required; their service delivery is via SMS to any mobile phone and it is easy to join us even in the forest,” he added.