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INSAM homepage until January 2005

Last modified January 23, 2005 10:45

INSAM homepage until January 2005

We have already quite often emphasized here the need for agrometeorological services. A collection of classical examples by Murthy and Stigter can be found under our website topic “Needs for agrometeorological solutions to farming problems”. However, we cannot have enough examples of agrometeorological services that actually work, because that inspires others to develop such services.

We should distinguish between operational services developed for government agencies or even private organizations and those developed for direct use in the domain of the livelihood of farmers. More should be published about all these subjects. If we ever want to launch an “INSAM journal of operational agrometeorology”, we have to clearly map out the most active fields of agrometeorology in the daily life of farmers and in the service of governments. Making an inventory of operational agrometeorological services is a good step in that direction.

We therefore want now to launch a contest among members of INSAM to find us the best examples of actually operationally applied agrometeorological services and information. The first part, starting today, will last till January 7th 2005, and is asking for examples of agrometeorological services and information developed and applied directly for and with farmers anywhere in the world. Literature on these examples may already exist, but they could still be brought to our attention the way they are actually applied anywhere.

The launching of this contest, prizes and the protocol to be filled for each example are given under the website topic of “Agromet Market Place”. In January we will then launch a second contest on operational agrometeorological services and information developed by farmers themselves, as traditional/indigenous methods that are not yet anywhere fully documented. This second round will last till mid-April. By then we will launch a third and final contest on operational agrometeorological services and information developed for governments or private organizations, which will last till July 31st, 2005.

Why is INSAM doing this? We believe that operational agrometeorological services and information are the ultimate products in our profession. For such services regarding assistance to most farmers in developing countries, certain conditions have to be fulfilled with respect to three components of knowledge and information. The services first have to stay in touch with historically developed adaptation strategies that have become increasingly insufficient, but contain indigenous knowledge and technology that is well known by the farmers concerned. They secondly must have a scientifically and technologically sound base in basic and applied agrometeorological knowledge, old and new. Finally, the services and information have to fit - or show a need for altering - existing policy environments with respect to prevailing socio-economic constraints and protective measures for the resource base for agricultural production.

Only if these three components are simultaneously considered, can agrometeorological services be successfully developed and applied and really help farmers to improve their livelihood. Good operational agrometeorological services of that kind are therefore relatively rare and we would like to have as many as possible examples that work. Please follow our indications under the “Agromet Market Place” for your participation. Already operational and documented services should also be brought to our attention.

With the second round starting next year we want to stimulate field research on what farmers, or NGOs working for and with farmers, may have developed themselves as useful information and services with agrometeorological components. In my work in Africa and Asia I have repeatedly come across farmers experimenting with innovations and improvements that we could or should assist with applied agrometeorological research in increasing the efficiency of their attempts (most often through understanding obtained from quantification of phenomena and sometimes even processes involved).

As to the final round later next year, governments and other actors in agricultural production are served with agrometeorological services and advisories of all kinds, including monitoring and early warning products. We believe that they benefit the production environment through better design of all kinds of protection measures, other preparedness strategies, prize and market systems, policies, etc. Also here we would like to get an inventory of services provided to government agencies and other policy and decision-makers, and how they are actually used operationally.

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