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18 Jul 2022 | Engaging policy makers

Engaging local-level policymakers in tailoring climate information

Sustainability and relevance ensured through broad-based participation

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A rapidly changing climate and frequent extreme weather events are resulting in disturbances in the largely smallholding farming contexts across the region. Since farmers in Nepal rely heavily on scarcely distributed agricultural extension services, the Government of Nepal strengthened its agriculture advisory services with an Agricultural Management Information System that generates and disseminates knowledge digitally. As these services are only available at the provincial level, we piloted a project to provide localized digital agro-advisory services to smallholding farmers in Nepal’s Chitwan district. Working with our partner the Agricultural Knowledge Centre in Chitwan, and in collaboration with local public institutions, we developed a farm-level data-gathering mobile application and an integrated information dashboard linking climate information with local cropping practices.

A project steering committee comprising elected leadership from local bodies, provincial and central government officials, leaders from our partner organisation, and subject matter specialists oversees the implementation of our pilot. A local technical advisory committee –comprising an entomologist, plant pathologist, horticulturist, agronomist, and water and climate experts from the AKC, Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Agriculture and Forestry University, and the Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project – generates the bi-weekly agro-advisory based on on-ground crop conditions information and climate/ weather information provided by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and other climate information platforms. The digital tools developed under this pilot can be easily customized for alignment with agricultural extension services in all our RMCs. The data collected on crop diseases and pests from the pilot can be used to train machine-learning algorithms to track and predict crop diseases and pest outbreaks in the future.

In Chitwan, Nepal, local policymakers serve on a project steering committee to ensure that localized digital agro-advisory services provide relevant and timely information to farmers

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