Which climate services do farmers and pastoralists need in Malawi? Baseline study for the GFCS Adaptation Program in Africa.
This report presents final findings from the baseline data collection exercise conducted for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Adaptation Programme in Africa. The GFCS programme seeks to improve climate services for agriculture, food security, heath and disaster risk reduction in Tanzania and Malawi. Under the auspices of this GFCS project, the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is responsible to support baseline data collection and monitoring and evaluation to evaluate climate services for farmers and pastoralists in both countries. The purpose of this report is to inform national partners on farmers' current needs and access to climate information services. Households interviewed in Malawi are mostly crop farmers, and have access to conventional climate information. However, they rely more on indigenous knowledge, personal experience and traditional cropping calendar than on climate information for their farm decision-making. Respondents would like to receive more advice about improved cropping practices, and better communication of climate information through village meetings and in their local languages. The climate information farmers would like to receive includes forecasts of extreme events, onset of the rains, seasonal rainfall, daily weather, and pest and diseases. These forecasts should be timely. Seasonal forecasts should be available preferably months before the start of the season to allow farmers to integrate them in their farm management decisions. The preferred communication channels were visits from extension agents, radio messages and SMS in cell phones. Farmers trust information from government extension agents, radio presenters and NGOs. Women particularly trust NGO workers.