What WMOCAgM should realize as implications ofthe above

We end this paper with what WMO/CAgM should realize as implications of the above for the future of weather and climate information approaches and technologies in agricultural production. WMO (2006a) has very recently indicated what it sees for the role of weather and climate information approaches and technologies as key to future activities of the Commission. It starts with the warning that in developing countries there remain risks that very few high-level agrometeorological personnel and limited resources are geared towards modern specializations, ttis situation is accentuated by low quality data and the limited absorption capacity of agricultural decision makers for such agrometeorological products (Gadgil et al. 2000; WMO 2006a). ttis can be confirmed from the above illustrations of the situation in China, tte above results question the idea that "the key to future activities of CAgM will be how to take advantage of the rapid innovations in technology" (WMO 2006a).

ttis definitely is the case in richer countries with low and decreasing farming populations with a high level of education (Stigter 2006b). tte Chinese results show that this also may be the case for a group of richer farmers distinguished there. But for all other farmers in developing countries this is for the time being only true in a very limited way. Technical difficulties and some solutions were explained by Morrow (2002b). ttere are other key factors here, depending on education, income level and occupation, tte reports by Boulahya et al. (2005) on using new technologies in rural Africa for communicating drought information are giving hope but also show the limitations. Understanding the actual needs and scope for agrometeorological services, the bottlenecks in the establishment of agrometeorological services and how to guide their introduction for various target groups is much more important, tte results obtained in Africa and China (Stigter et al. 2005d), the present pilot projects in China and India and those in preparation in Brazil, India, Vietnam and Cambodia (Stigter in prep.) confirm this.

Already in this recent publication (WMO 2006a) it is recognized that enhancement of the communication channels for the improved dissemination of agricultural meteorological information should take into account the literacy levels of users, socio-economic conditions, level of technological development and accessibility to improved technology and farming systems, tte Chinese results reported on above explain details of this picture, ttey also improve and refine the idea that in the developing world, "lack of resources and skills are the basic limitation to enhanced web-based dissemination of information", but the emphasis asked for rural radio use is confirmed in China and many other developing countries (WMO

2006a). WMO (2006b) also recently recognized and illustrated that experience has shown that a major gap remains in the identification of clear and useful guidelines on the exact nature of agrometeorological products that must be provided.

In this way the studies reported on from China are examples of how to better understand the importance of services, also agrometeorological services, in rural areas, ttis includes information approaches such as the use of intermediaries in training farmers and information technologies fit for the target groups concerned, tte five "Aceh/Sumatra" issues discussed in section 2. should guide us. Such studies, but now specifically made with respect to agrometeorological services, would help us even more in getting the right picture and being able to give the right guidance for important differentiation and scaling up operations (Stigter 2006e).

But as John Locke once said, "opinions are always suspected and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common".

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