Using Automated Weather Stations to Collect Local Climate Data for Climate Smart Dairy Value Chain

By Stella Ndirangu (ACRE Africa) and Joab Osumba (Finance Innovation in Climate Change Fund)

FICCF Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) component works in collaboration with Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd - ACRE Africa to disseminate weather information to farmers. ACRE Africa has installed three automated weather stations (AWS) in Kanjuiri, Kihoto and Rutara Secondary Schools in Ngorika, Nyandarua County where the programme is involved in a climate smart agriculture initiative. The objective of gathering the weather data in the area is to better understand the relationship between weather, animal health, milk production and fodder production.

The purpose of installing the stations in schools is to provide a safe place for the weather stations, as well as provide students with an opportunity to access and learn more about weather data with the permission from the Ministry of Education.

ACRE Africa organized a Climate and Weather Information Field Day on 11 March 2017 at Kihoto secondary school, Mawingo village. The field day brought in the local communities to interact with stakeholders to learn about the correlation between weather and climate smart dairy production. This will creates a platform to enable farmers to receive localized agro-weather information to support their decision making on when to plant animal feeds, store forage (hay and silage) and how to manage dairy production in cases of adverse weather. The climate information will also help farmers to plan for any emerging livestock diseases that might emerge as a result of climate variability.

Currently the schools are able to access and analyze the data in excel spreadsheets. ACRE Africa anticipates that in future the teachers will teach the students how to analyze the local weather data against the projected national and international weather patterns and discuss it with the community.