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Ivory Coast farmers learn new ways to watch the weather

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The winds of change are coming for many agriculturalists in the West African nation of Ivory Coast, with anomalous weather patterns already disrupting generations-old cycles of planting and harvest. Many farmers are now receiving basic meteorological training that helps them monitor and predict seasonal flux.

"The weather data are essential in decision making, and the trainings aim to boost the productivity of our agriculture," said Daouada Konate, head of the National Meteorological Service.

Ivory Coast is the world's biggest producer of cocoa and, along with neighboring Ghana, accounts for around 51 percent of global supply. Agro-meteorologists worry that the plant's sensitivity to climate variability will mean reduced crop yields under future climate change scenarios.

Additionally, timing has become a problem for some farmers. "The periods and length of the rain and dry seasons tend to change from what we used to know," said Bernard Dje Kouakou, an Ivorian agro- meteorologist. "Farmers have lost their reference points, and it affects their productivity and output.

Food crops like corn, rice, sorghum and millet are also at risk in the region.

To help farmers cope with the changes, the National Meteorological Service and the National Rural Development Agency are running programs in towns throughout the cocoa-growing region to teach farmers to match planting times with weather patterns. About 200 people will be trained during the program, which is slated to finish at the end of March (Olivier Monnier,  Bloomberg, March 9). -- NM

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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