Airtel Funds Farming Project in Uganda

In a move to back the project undertaken by the Trans Africa Hydro Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO), Bharti Airtel, is spending $672,000 to support a project to provide timely weather reports to small-scale farmers in Uganda to boost their farming activities.

“Based on similar activities, in terms of information dissemination, in Malawi and Madagascar, Airtel is contributing this time to provide important weather information to farmers in Uganda,” TAHMO’s co-director, Nick van de Giesen, Trans Africa Hydro Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO), Bharti Airtel, noted.

The project is also backed by research that shows that African weather is poorly monitored, especially for forecast purposes. TAHMO also found out that most African societies are vulnerable to extreme weather events.

According to Van de Giesen, because of this, the organisation is helping to make good predictions about rainfall as well as provide information on how much water vapour the atmosphere contains.

Admitting that changing weather patterns have been the bane of farming across the African continent, Giesen said TAHMO was helping to “produce early warnings for heavy weather”.

He said: “Normal weather predictions will improve with better observations and this helps to plan short term farming operations such as planting and fertilising, in addition, detailed weather data allow for weather-index-based micro crop insurance, in which payments depend on nearby measurements.”

“The phone messages are actually spoken messages in the relevant local language. So, as long as the farmers or fishermen know how to use a mobile phone, they can receive the messages by simply listening in.We did a small trial pilot in local Luganda language during the preparation phase,” he said.

Using the Global Navigation Satellite System, TAHMO is hoping to improve on rainfall predictions as well as measure the extra delay caused by moisture in the atmosphere.

This post first appeared HERE

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