THE newly innovated Automatic Weather Station devices by the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) have proven fruitful after succeeding to improve ‘Farmers SMS’ means of communication for over 70 per cent.
The devices have been made available through the ongoing ‘2012 -2020 Improving Weather Information Management in East Africa for Effective Service provision Through Applicable of Sustainable ICTs’ Project, under the sponsorship of USD 2m, from the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED).
Project Manager Daudi Mboma made the revelation on Tuesday during the AfricaClimate Talks (Act 3), titled: International Conference on “Towards a Climate Resilient Society for the Desired Sustainable Futures in Africa”, which was organised by the University of Dar es Salaam.
Mr Mboma explained that ‘Farmers SMS’ product was initiated by the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), but wasn’t fully effective due to old technology that used to send the message to farmers.
“We have succeeded to improve such a product wherein farmers in some parts of Simiyu, Dodoma and Manyara regions have confirmed to have been timely receiving the SMS. All about the TMA product is to tell the farmers on when to go for farm activities so as to avoid the negatives of climate change impacts,” he said.
He explained that weather information to farmers was very important, especially in this era whereby agricultural raw materials are most needed to support the industrialisation agenda.
Again, weather information has an important role to play towards enabling farmers to switch from the current subsistence agriculture to commercial farming, said the project manager.
Norway’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms Elisabeth Jacobsen, explained that without action to address climate change, decades of sustainable development may be at risk.
She said that policy makers, national and local governments as well as community leaders needed information for better understanding of climate change and how they should take into account the climate change perspective in their planning and implementation.
Officiating the event, Minister for State, Vice-President’s office (Union and Environment), Mr George Simbachawene, commented that climate change posed one of the most serious threats to Africa’s long-term sustainable development, economic growth and life quality of its people.
He said that the continent was vulnerable because of high rates of poverty, financial and technological constraints as well as a heavy reliance on rainfed agriculture.
“Potential impacts related to climate change exist in all sectors. It is certain that rising temperatures will exacerbate existing problems and vulnerabilities of the African continent,” he said.