Enhancing Access to and Utilization of Weather Forecast Information by Smallholder Farmers in Ejisu-Juaben District, Ashanti region of Ghana

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Access to weather forecast / or agro meteorological information is a potential of allowing farmers to contribute to modernization of agriculture, poverty alleviation and improving food security in countries whose economies depend on rain fed agriculture. The production, communication and dissemination of weather forecast information for the operational practices are important for tactical agro meteorological decision making in the short term planning of agricultural operations at the farm and the national policy level. In sub Saharan Africa, the national meteorology services produce weather forecast daily hut its usefulness to the farmers is undermined by the lack of interpretation, translation, synthesis and dissemination difficulties particularly in terms of providing timely, accurate and adequate support for decision making at the farm level. Therefore the need to focus on agro meteorological information, its usefulness and provision as a public good is a way to avert food crisis especially in Sub Saharan Africa. From this background, the study therefore explored the avenues of enhancing access of smallholder farmers to weather forecast information and how improved access to such data can positively impact on agricultural productivity in Ejisu-Juaben district. To understand the response to weather forecast access and utilization by smallholder farmers in crop production, a case study approach was chosen and the study used both secondary and primary data sources with the following conclusions: There is poor weather forecast data quality management at the regional meteorological agency, weak institutional linkage in its communication and dissemination, inadequate knowledge and awareness of the information among the smallholders and ineffective and weak policy formulation I or implementation on the integration of weather forecast in agricultural development programme. Generally there is inadequate access to weather forecast information in the district. In addressing its findings, the study recommends participatory planning and implementation of weather forecast programmes with the involvement of the smallholder and decentralized weather forecast production and dissemination that is demand driven based on agro ecological zones.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2005