As part of its efforts to help address challenges hampering the Agriculture sectors in the country; Ignitia has taken another prudent step by introducing the New Weather Tool for Agriculture Sector in Ghana and other parts of West Africa.
Ignitia, a Tropical Weather Forecasting based technology company is the world’s first and most accurate tropical weather forecasting company and has over 84% reliability.
The forecasts are delivered to West African farmers via SMS in partnership with mobile network operators.The product is a 48hour forecast message, delivered daily via SMS, directly to the subscribers phone.
The forecasts also feature monthly and seasonal predictions and detail the likelihood, timing and intensity of the weather.
Speaking at a day’s Open House conference held in Tamale, was dubbed “From Thunderstorm Predictions to Brainstorming Climate Smart Agriculture Solutions” for stakeholders and agribusiness actors within the agriculture value chain on how to use the New Weather Tool and its advantages to the actors,
Regional Director Africa, Ignitia, Kwabena Frimpong explained that since 2015, they have been working closely with small-scale farmers in Ghana and across West Africa to provide them with reliable forecasts to reduce risk and loss.“Originally based in Ghana, we have expanded into Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria.
Because our weather model is dependent on satellites, our ability to expand is not hindered by the high costs of creating on-ground infrastructure in every location; this means that expansion to new tropical areas is easier and remains relatively inexpensive.
“We have plans to continue our expansion into Africa and other tropical climates in the coming years.“This Open House conference extended invitation to potential customers, farmer based organisations, input dealers, aggregators, food and beverage industries and other value chain actors in the agriculture industry.“We are very excited about this flagship project and we thank our partners especially the Water & Energy for Food (WE4F) project by the GIZ for their great support and show of interest in our tool for agribusiness actors” he mentioned.
Chief Science Officer, Ignitia, Andreas Vallgren said farmers in Africa are often portrayed as unintelligent, but that is not the case. “What farmers need is reliable information, and access to technology in order to make more informed decisions.
“Farmers know how to farm, we’re simply giving them a tool to improve their farming practices.“Our simplistic text format has been tested and refined for optimal understanding, even in low-literacy areas and has an accuracy of 84%, our forecasts are more than twice as accurate as global producers.“Weather affects industries across the globe.
Each year, billions of dollars are lost due to weather variability” he revealed.Director of Agricultural Extension Service at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Paul Siameh said farmers in Ghana are grappling with low crop yield owing to unpredictable weather patterns.“The Ministry of Food and Agriculture has begun a pilot programme to support small holder farmers with information on weather patterns in the five northern regions of Ghana.
“We are targeting about 1.7 million small holder farmers to register them for his exercise; our aim is to help them boost their agronomic and technology expertise in the Agriculture Value Chain and be able to withstand the vagaries of climate change,” he said.Team leader, Private Sector EU – GIZ Dr. Andrew Harberd said Agriculture businesses are experiencing first-hand the effects of our changing climate.
“Having more accurate, long-term weather Tool that go far beyond what’s possible today gives farmers a critical advantage for resource planning and preparedness in the face of increasing climate disruptions; and we are excited Ignitia has introduced this tool.“This helps agribusinesses better anticipate the needs of their customers and proactively place the right products at the right time to maximize the benefits realized” he said.
A farmer in the Eastern Region of Ghana where the tool was piloted revealed that Ignitia’s tool has helped him to better plan when to plant, apply fertilizer, spray pesticide and harvest.“I see up to 80% increase in my income, due to decreased risk and loss.“No smart phone required; their service delivering is via SMS on any mobile phone and it’s easy to reach us even in the forest” he added.