Climate services for smallholder farmers in Kenya

2019 – 2020

Climate change is impacting agricultural systems in Kenya. In the future, these impacts are expected to get worse. That’s why this Copernicus demonstrator contract will make climate information available to Kenyan farmers: to support them in adapting to a changing climate.

For this Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)* demonstrator, we partnered with SMHI, Wageningen Environmental Research (WEnR) and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Juja. Our overarching aim is to better prepare smallholder farmers in Kenya for a changing climate. We will achieve this by setting up a bespoke climate information service, with associated training in order to improve the knowledge and skills of local partners and practitioners. To this end we will use the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), whose Climate Data Store contains freely-available quality-assured climate datasets and tools. Our Demonstrator service will build on the resources provided by C3S, and the supporting educational resources developed within this activity will become part of the newly-established ‘Centre of Excellence on Climate Adaptation’ at JKUAT.

Traditionally, assessing climate data and deriving specific agricultural indicators has been in the domain of research, meaning that the information necessary to inform the end user is often unavailable (in this instance smallholder farmers). Our work will bridge the gap between the specialist, and disseminate complex, abstract, scientific data to the local farmer who requires practical information on how and when to act to optimise their agricultural activities.

To this end, we are collaborating with world-leading climate and agriculture experts SMHI and WEnR, who will be responsible for handling the climate model results and tailoring them into something more easily digestible, based on our assessment of user needs. Together with JKUAT and local government departments we will then organise ‘Climate Field Schools’ to improve the knowledge and skills of local partners.

We focus on both short-term and seasonal climate predictions in two regions: Kiambu and Kajiado. Our Demonstrator allows practicable use of climate information in Kenya and will allow the development similar climate services and capacity building.

*The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is one of the six thematic information services provided by the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme and is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Union.

Project in the media