The climate information and local scale agro-advisories

The development of accurateand reliable seasonal forecast informed agro-advisory has given impetus andrelevance to the climate information in the agriculture sector. Over the lastfew years, many stakeholders and institutions including the ASDSP haveendeavouredto ensure availability of relevant, understandable and timely climateinformation for agriculture especially in the rainfed arid and semi aridregions. This has seen the development of seasonal climate information for theagriculture sector in Kenya particularly the seasonal climate informationnecessary for informing agro-activities during the main crop growing seasons inthe country.  Stakeholders achieved thisobjective through the Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) Approach, which wasdeveloped through various adaptation learning process approach conducted in manyparts of the world including parts of Kenya. The PSP approach has been identifiedas an appropriate methodology for linking seasonal climate information to localscale rainfed agriculture enterprises and other climate dependent environmentallivelihoods.The process of PSP howeveris cost intensive with much of the cost necessitated by conference and meetings which bringing together personsfrom every sector of climate dependent livelihoods. The distribution of the seasonaladvisory is a tedious manual based hand delivery of leaflets whose productioncarry heavy printing costs. On occasions, radio broadcasts are used for widedissemination of the information incurring huge broadcasting costs despite lowlevels of reach among relevant communities.

.Many donors and partners inthis process have since expressed concern of the cost of the PSP and some haveeven called for concerted cost sharing and cost reduction strategies towardsefficiency in availing relevant climate information. This aspect of costpresents a risk of denying the ultimate beneficiaries (farmers and relatedsupport agents) of information their most basic right of access to information.This study will profile the use of IT, indevelopment of seasonal climate information and local scale agro-advisories forthe dry-land livelihoods in Kitui County of Kenya. The research will profile anICT based climate information development and dissemination system which makesit easy to develop at low cost the seasonal climate advisory for farm levelapplication and other climate dependent livelihoods and avail the sameinformation to rural practitioners, on their mobile phones on Short MessageSystem (SMS).

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