The Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation (CCAM) program of the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR), National Meteorological Agency (NMA) and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) organized an International Agro-meteorology Conference, from 3-5 July 2017 in Addis Ababa.

The theme of the conference was “Climate Information for Climate Resilient Agriculture: Enhancing Agro-meteorological Services to Build Climate Resilient Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia”. International researchers, scholars and private companies from the United States of America, South Africa, Norway, Rwanda, and India presented their research and experiences during the event. The conference was also attended by policy makers, ministry representatives, institutions of higher learning, NGOs, and international organizations.

Cognizant of the fact that Ethiopian agriculture remains rain-fed and affected by climate change, enhancing climate information use in agriculture is among the top priority actions identified in Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy. The development of climate-resilient agriculture will, in turn, lead to ensuring food security in a sustainable manner. In response, the ATA developed the CCAM program to spearhead climate-related efforts of the Transformation Agenda, and to ensure that such considerations are mainstreamed throughout all activities.

In particular, agro-meteorological information can be applied directly to agricultural production to improve or protect the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The NMA has regularly produced agro-met advisories since its establishment, but weather and climate forecasts in the past have not been robust or location-specific enough to enable farmers to make informed decisions. More to the fact, such information often does not reach the communities it could benefit, or reaches them too late.

The conference thoroughly discussed issues related to gaps and challenges in climate information generation and use and recommended the way forward to address the main bottlenecks of agro-met services related to practice, policy, and research.  Mainstreaming weather and climate information in policy formulation and decision making will increase agricultural production and productivity by taking the necessary precautions before the occurrence of extreme weather and climate events.

Primarily, the conference objective was to enhance agro-met knowledge and experience sharing among stakeholders to support the promotion of climate smart agriculture through the agricultural extension system. As such, the expected outcomes were to identify: innovative methods to mainstream climate information into the extension system; policy requirements to enhance climate information generation, research and agro-met advisory services for farmers; and coordination of stakeholders in agro-met advisory and research to enhance services for smallholder farmers.

The conference was very successful and fruitful in achieving its objective.