Providing Drought Information to Farmers
Since 2014, Jamaica has experienced one of its worst droughts in a decade, and the fourth worst on record since the 1970s. The
Forecast information was then provided to hundreds of farmers across Jamaica by JMS and RADA during June 2014-June 2015, via farmer forums, text messages, extension agents, and direct contact with JMS. In doing so, JMS and RADA tested an innovative model for providing climate-information services to farmers, with potential for generating new insights relevant to delivering climate-information services for agriculture in different contexts.
In 2015, USAID and NOAA supported an economic-impact evaluation study by researchers from the University of Arizona of the information service. The study documents that agricultural-production losses of the farmers who received the information service were significantly smaller. More specifically, some farmers were able to prevent agricultural-production losses by up to 40%. This can be attributed to the coping strategies adopted by farmers in light of the information service: they adjusted planting and sowing time, choice of crops, harvesting time, amount of land cultivated, mulching practices, chemical and fertilizer use, and irrigation.