Opportunities and barriers for using climate information for building resilient agricultural systems in Sudan savannah agro-ecological zone of north-eastern Ghana

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Empirical evidence on the opportunities and barriers to the uptake of climate services by smallholder farmers for resilient agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa is limited. This paper addresses this important gap by evaluating the opportunities and barriers to the uptake of climate information (from short-term weather fore casts, through seasonal forecasts to longer-term climate change information on decadal timescales) by small holder farmers in the Sudan savannah agro-ecological zone of Ghana. The paper answers the following research questions: i) what kinds of weather and climate information are available and accessible to smallholder farmers for agricultural management decision-making? ii) what opportunities exist for using climate information in agricultural systems in the Sudan savannah agro-ecological zone? iii) what are the key barriers to the uptake of climate information by smallholder farmers in the Sudan savannah agro-ecological zones of Ghana? The study used participatory approaches including household surveys with 555 farmers, 3 stakeholder workshops, 15 key informant interviews and 12 focus group discussions across 6 communities in the Sudan savannah agro ecological zone. Findings show that more than a third of the study respondents (40%; n = 555) were not receiving climate information. Out of the 60% receiving climate information, the majority (91%; n = 335) indicated receiving information on rainfall with fewer respondents 21% and 26% receiving information on temperature and windstorms, respectively. Radio was the key medium for receiving weather and climate in formation. Both female and male smallholder farmers were using climate information to make critical farming decisions including time of land preparations (79%), crop variety selection (50%), changing cropping patterns (36%), planting time adjustments (31%), harvesting time (21%) and disease/pest management (10%). Increasing uptake of weather and climate information is confronted with multiple barriers including inadequate information on seasonal forecast for long-term planning, low accessibility of climate information, high levels of illiteracy, difficulties in understanding technical language used in communicating climate information and misalignment between the climate information provided and what smallholder farmers need. Climate information should be linked directly to agricultural imp
This article is published by Elsevier, 2021 and is also available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cliser.2021.100226