Weather stations and information services
Over the coming decades farmers will be less able to rely on seasonal weather patterns for their management practices. Weather information from weather stations information can be made available to farmers either through the sharing of information within farmer groups or through mobile phone applications. Weather stations data help identify climate trends to improve climate change risk assessments (UTZ, 2016), however, in many countries the number of weather stations is insufficient to provide accurate information to farmers and researchers. Information on the future evolution of climate patterns on their farm can be very useful for farmers, especially when coupled with advisory services. For farmers of agroforestry cocoa systems, short and medium-term climate predictions can aid in the shaping of the microclimate Temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speeds and solar radiation are among the data points that could be gathered by weather stations. Joining this data with farm management data can improve timing recommendations for CSC practice implementations. Weather forecast-based algorithms could be developed to alert farmers though their mobile phones of suitable times for planting, pruning, fermenting, etc.
Importance in terms of CSA
Productivity: Smallholder farmers, whose incomes are dependent on the sale of cocoa beans, face higher risks in production due to climate change. Weather station information and forecasts have the potential to increase yields and cocoa quality by improving the timing of farming practices and post-harvest processing.
Adaptation: According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), training and distribution of rain gauges to farmers have been shown to improve their decision making, including planting decisions and when to apply inputs (WMO, 2017). The more complete the weather forecasting information is the better farmers will be able to adapt early to short and longer-term risks.
Mitigation: Weather forecasts may increase the willingness of farmers to adopt agroforestry production systems by improving their capacity to adapt the microclimate. Along with the transmission of weather station information, advice on CSC practices can increase their adoption and lead to lower GHG emissions and greater carbon stocks.