Climate change threatens Nepal’s agriculture sector, which is highly dependent on water and other climate-sensitive resources. The agriculture sector employs over two-thirds of the labor force and contributes to roughly one-third of the country's GDP. There is an urgent need to increase adoption of adaptive agricultural extension services to reinforce climate resilience in order to reduce climate change-induced loss of agricultural productivity. The timely dissemination of reliable weather and climate information are critical for management decisions such as selection of crop type and variety, planting and harvest timing, field fertilization, and grazing and migrating livestock. Despite several efforts to improve climate information services, weather forecasts produced by national bodies are not widely disseminated in rural and remote areas.
The objective of the technical assistance is to customize weather and climate information products issued by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology to the needs of local farmers. The assistance will support the development of an application programming interface (API) for the automatic dissemination of location-specific customized 3-day weather forecasts to farmers in user-friendly language using mobile and internet-based SMS. The dissemination system will then be piloted in selected communities to build farmers’ capacity to use this information.
The increased use of improved meteorological services for decision-making in the agriculture sector provides economic and social benefits. The technical assistance will help farmers to better adapt to changing weather conditions, reducing risks to agricultural production and leading to enhanced food security. The technical assistance will support the targets for the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use (AFOLU) sector articulated in Nepal’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), as it will test a customized set of weather forecast products for smallholder farmers for increased access to climate-smart agricultural technologies. Additionally, the project will strengthen and establish Public Weather Services (PWS), which falls under the country’s key policy priorities on adaptation. The project will integrate the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion NDC target through involving women, children, youth, indigenous peoples, and marginalized groups in consultations and workshops at national, district and village levels.