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Scientists, policymakers meet in Bangladesh to produce climate services agenda for Asia

September 15, 2017

DHAKA (CIMMYT) – Successful farm management requires reliable climate prediction technology to ensure crops flourish and make it to harvest.

High-quality data, maps, risk and vulnerability analyses now play a key role in agricultural climate services, aiding farmers as they struggle to fortify their fields so they can withstand variable and extreme temperatures, scarce or excess rainfall, wind, soil moisture deficits and adapt to climate change.

In an effort to develop strategies to support the growth of farmer-focused climate services, agricultural and climate scientists from across South and Southeast Asia will gather in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a three-day workshop from September 17-19, 2017.

“Agricultural climate services is a relatively new topic in Asia with increasing relevance and importance for smallholder farmers, said Timothy Krupnik, a systems agronomist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and South Asia project leader with Climate Services for Resilient Development (CSRD).

“In the case of farming systems, climate data can help inform adaptation strategies to reduce risks, lower production costs and increase resilience,” Krupnik said. “For example, climate services can help farmers to decide what crop to sow, when to sow it, how to manage the crop with respect to irrigation requirements based on forecasted precipitation, or how to manage diseases and pests in a rational and integrated way based on the outputs of weather-based forecasting models. Farmers can also learn a lot about how to better choose and manage crops by understanding long-term climatic trends.”

The three-day workshop, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on behalf of CSRD and organized by CIMMYT in collaboration with South Asian CSRD partners, will evaluate how climate and agricultural extension advisories are produced and conveyed, and will emphasize farm community involvement in developing climate information and extension messaging.

The power of climate information is also greatly increased through effective use of non-meteorological data, including agricultural production statistics, health trends, socio-economic variables, population distribution in high-risk areas, road and infrastructure maps for the delivery of goods.

Additionally, pest and disease forecasts, and weather-based crop insurance programs are currently among the fastest growing agricultural climate services sectors.

“The challenge is not the ‘high science’ of developing models and sophisticated research outputs,” Krupnik said. “Key to climate services is emphasis on the service — the design of programs to rapidly extend information to farmers and others who require climate information to inform their decision making, and to assure that research outputs are translated in a way that communicates to farmers, extension services, and policy makers in easy to understand ways. Equally important is feedback from farmers on the quality of climate services so they can be adapted and improved over time.”

Researchers, extension agents, policymakers, donors and development organization representatives from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, United Kingdom and the United States will share cross-regional experiences, comparing them with participatory agricultural climate services projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

Participants will learn how to identify and leverage “decision points” in the agricultural calendar during which climate information and advisories can be applied in ways that aim to most benefit farmers.

“CIMMYT’s work has tended to focus mainly on South Asia to date, but this workshop provides an opportunity for us to move in a new direction to engage researchers, meteorologists, and extension organizations from both South and Southeast Asia, Krupnik said, adding that the workshop opens up significant opportunities for new collaborations across regions.

CSRD is a global partnership that connects climate science, data streams, decision support tools, and training to decision-makers in developing countries. The CSRD consortium in South Asia is led by CIMMYT in partnership with the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, International Institute for Climate and Society, University de Passo Fundo and the University of Rhode Island. CSRD is also strategically aligned with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Participants include the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, Bangladesh Department of Agricultural Extension, Columbia University.

CSRD’s founding partners are the government of the United States (through USAID), Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UK Department for International Development, UK Met Office, American Red Cross, Skoll Global Threats Fund, Esri, Google, Inter-American Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

WHERE: Golden Tulip Hotel, House 84, road 7, block H, Banani 1213, Dhaka, Bangladesh

FURTHER INFORMATION:

*In-person and remote interviews available

Shahidul Haque Khan

CIMMYT Communications

CIMMYT-Bangladesh

msh.khan@cgiar.org

tel: +88 02 9896676

skype: shahiduldhaka

mobile: +88 01713330981

or

Genevieve Renard

CIMMYT Head of Communications

g.renard@cgiar.org

@genevrenard

or

Julie Mollins

CIMMYT Communications

j.mollins@cgiar.org

@jmollins

About CIMMYT – The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center – is the global leader in publicly-funded maize and wheat research and related farming systems. Headquartered near Mexico City, CIMMYT works with hundreds of partners throughout the developing world to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat cropping systems, thus improving global food security and reducing poverty. CIMMYT is a member of the CGIAR System and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Maize and Wheat and the Excellence in Breeding Platform. The center receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.


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