Decision making in agricultural production is a complex process in which many risks need to be considered for an informed decision to be made. Farmers face many types of risks related to production, marketing, legal, social and human aspects. In many parts of the world, weather and climate are one of the biggest production risk and uncertainty factors impacting on agricultural systems performance and management. Extreme climatic events such as severe droughts, floods, cyclonic systems or temperature and wind disturbances strongly impede sustainable agricultural development. Hence weather and climate variability is considered in evaluating all environmental risk factors and coping decisions.
Coping with agrometeorological risk and uncertainties is the process of measuring or otherwise assessing agrometeorological risks and uncertainties and then developing strategies to cope with these risks, ttere are many challenges. In many developing countries technology generation, innovation and adoption are too slow to sufficiently counteract the increasingly negative effects of degrading environmental conditions. Even in the high rainfall areas, increased probability of extreme events can for example cause increased nutrient losses due to excessive leaching, runoff and water logging. Lack of attention to preparedness and response strategies is a major challenge.
Currently there are many opportunities that can assist in coping effectively with agrometeorological risks and uncertainties. One of the most important strategies is improved use of climate knowledge and technology, which includes the development of monitoring and response mechanisms to current weather. By providing new, quantitative information about he environment within which the farmers operate or about the likely outcome of alternative or relief management options, uncertainties in crop productivity can be reduced. Quantification is essential and computer simulations can assist such information and may be particularly useful to quantitatively compare alternative management and relief options in areas where seasonal climatic variability is high and/or that are prone to extremes. Given the current recognition of the importance of preparedness to cope with risks and uncertainties as compared to the practice of reactive responses, it is necessary to take stock of the opportunities that exist in coping with agrometeorological risks, to develop suitable practices/strategies and to disseminate them widely.
It is with this background that WMO had organized the International Workshop on Agrometeorological Risk Management: Challenges and Opportunities in conjunction with the 14th Session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology of WMO held in New Delhi, India, tte workshop was co-sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), the Bureau of Meteorology,
Australia; the Centre Technique de Coopération Agricole et Rurale - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the India Meteorological Department, Météo-France; the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India; the UK Met Office; and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
tte workshop reviewed the components of farmers' agrometeorological coping strategies with risks and uncertainties in different regions of the world and discussed the major challenges to these coping strategies, such as reducing the vulnerability of different agro-ecosystems to weather and climate related risks and uncertainties, access to technological advances, particularly in developing countries, and attention to preparedness and response strategies. Structural measures such as irrigation, water harvesting etc., and non-structural measures such as use of seasonal to inter-annual climate forecasts and improved application of mediumrange weather forecasts for strategic and tactical management of agriculture were addressed. A special evening symposium on weather risk insurance for agriculture reviewed the use of crop insurance strategies and schemes to reduce the vulnerability of the farming communities to agrometeorological risks.
I hope that the papers presented in this book will serve as a significant source of information to all agencies and organizations involved with designing and implementing appropriate strategies and related services to farmers in their efforts cope with weather and climate risks.
M. Jarraud Secretay-General
World Meteorological Organization
Was this article helpful?