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International Workshop on Addressing the Livelihood Crisis of Farmers: Weather and Climate Services

Belo Horizonte, Brazil
12-14 July 2010


Introductory Note | Background |Specific Objectives | Expected Outcomes | Co-sponsors

Programme |Abstracts | List of Particpants | Presentations


Workshop Overview

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), FAO, IFAP, Meteo-France, NCAM, and USDA together with a number of other co-sponsors are organizing this workshop and the backgroundspecific objectives and expected outcomes are listed below. This workshop will be held in conjunction with the 15th Session of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology from 15-21 July 2010.


There are 450 million smallholder farms in the world and several issues in the recent years are threatening their very livelihoods. The frequency and intensity of natural disasters including floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, wild fires etc., have been rising in the recent years.  In 2008, Cyclone Nargis and Typhoon Fengshen caused significant damage to lives and property and 2008 was the tenth warmest year since the beginning of routine temperature recording and the eighth warmest in the northern hemisphere.

In order to address the livelihood crisis of farmers, there is an urgent need to increase productivity on their farms.  This can only be accomplished through most efficient use of the three natural resources, soil, crop and climate, important for agricultural productivity.  The agriculture and water resources sectors are probably the primary users of weather, climate and water information. In many countries, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), in partnership with academic and private sector service providers, provide a wide range of  information and advisory services, including the following: historical climate data and products; current information (weather, climate, air quality, streamflow, etc.); weather, climate, air quality, and river forecasts; warning services (for all forms of meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic hazards); projections and scenarios of future human-induced climate change; and scientific advice and investigations.  In order to meet the food, fodder, fibre and renewable agri-energy needs of rapidly growing populations, especially in developing countries, information generated by the NMHSs is a vital element for ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources.

Projections of climate change and climate variability have generated a growing sense of urgency for continued but closer collaboration between the farming community and NMHSs. This collaborative process must move forward more aggressively, with effective  risk management, to maximize the benefits of weather, climate and water information in the agricultural sector. There is a need for routine engagement by NMHSs of end-users and stakeholders in the development of products and services; improved communication and coordination in the development, use, assessment and improvement of these products; the development of a policy promoting free, unrestricted and timely exchange of data and information to foster stronger linkages with the farming sector; and the development of partnerships between climate and water scientists to improve water management and water use efficiency in order to deal more effectively with weather- and climate-related events such as droughts and floods.

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Specific Workshop Objectives

  • To identify and assess the weather and climate risks and uncertainties in different regions of the world which affect the livlihoods of farmers e.g. extreme climatic events (droughts, floods, cyclonic systems, temperature and wind disturbances etc.), climate variability and climate change, lack of timely information on weather and climate risks and uncertainties etc.,

  • To review and summarize various weather and climate services for the farming community such as timely weather and climate forecasts to facilitate on-farm operational decisions, agrometeorological monitoring and forecasts for pests and disease control, agrometeorological adaptation strategies to cope with climate change, agroclimatic zoning for crop planning etc.,

  • To evaluate the current means of communication of various weather and climate services to the farming community in different regions of the world and suggest the ways and means to implement new and/or appropriate tools for dissemination of the weather and climate products and services, especially in regions where farmers are most vulnerable to the vagaries of weather and climate extremes,

  • To review climate change risk management in adapting strategic plans to reduce the potential impacts of climate change for farmers;

  • To review, through appropriate case studies, the use of weather risk insurance strategies and schemes to reduce the vulnerability of the farming communities to weather and climate risks;

  • To obtain feedback from farmers from different regions of the world on the extent to which current weather and climate services assist them in coping with various weather and climate risks and enhance the productivity of crops on their farms; and

  • To discuss and recommend suitable policy options to enhance weather and climate services for the farming community in different parts of the world.

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Expected Workshop Outcomes

Senior experts in several fields will be invited to prepare state-of-the-art discussion papers to address the above objectives, and these papers will be collected in a book to be published soon after the Workshop. The programme will be designed in such a way as to engage all the participants in discussions on each of these papers and to develop appropriate strategies to address the livelihood crisis of farmers through improved weather and climate services. The book on improving weather and climate services is expected to serve as a major source of information to all agencies and organizations involved with designing and implementing appropriate strategies and related services to farmers.

Recommendations from the Workshop will be considered at the ensuing session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology of WMO for the provision of improved and weather and climate services to the farming community by the NMHSs.

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Workshop Co-Sponsors 

  • Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (INMET-Brazil)
  • Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply
  • Government of Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Federal University of Vi├žosa (UFV), Minas Gerias, Brazil
  • Brazilan Society of Agrometeorology
  • Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN)
  • International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Meteo-France
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • National Center for AgroMeteorology (NCAM), Republic of Korea

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