Market of traditional grains in Kastamonu, Turkey (Photo: Alessandra Giuliani)

SFIAR Project Showcase

With a fixed set of questions, this series aims to showcase interesting Swiss projects in Agricultural Research for Development.

Showcase No 2 - December 2017

Climandes – User-tailored Climate Services for the
Andean Region

MeteoSwiss, SENAMHI Peru, SDC, WMO and other partners

Photo: Enrique Castro-Mendívil / PromPerú

What do we see on the project photo?
Four farmers in typical Peruvian clothes prepare the soil with traditional cultivation techniques. The picture provides a good insight into the environment of smallholder farmers in the Andean region, the principal target group of the Climandes project.

How would you explain to a child what the project is doing?
Weather and climate influence how much and which food farmers produce. If they know early enough when it is going to freeze, for example, they can better protect their plants or animals and eventually their income. Climandes supports farmers in Peru by providing climate information that are meaningful to them.

What is the project’s main objective?
The weather services MeteoSwiss and SENAMHI Peru join forces with the project partners to provide high-quality and user-tailored climate services for climate-smart agriculture. Thereby, Climandes improves science-based decision making which, at the end of the day, promotes food security and poverty reduction.

Why is the project important?
Climandes aims at increasing the resilience of vulnerable populations like Andean smallholder farmers and ultimately, society at large. To this end, the initiative enhances capacities in meteorology and climatology, establishes a user-dialogue and demonstrates the socio-economic benefit of climate services.

What has been the most positive moment during the project?
The interviews with more than 700 smallholder farmers from the southern Andes in Peru demonstrated their positive attitude towards science-based climate information. This holds promise for the supply and use of climate services becoming mainstream.

What have been the biggest challenges encountered in the project?
Cognitive or cultural differences between suppliers and users of climate services can constrain their application. This last mile in climate service delivery proved to be more challenging than expected. In order to overcome this gap, Climandes analysed farmers’ decision-making as well as the weather and climate products and the communication channels of SENAMHI.

Which is the most important lesson learnt from the project?
We learned that an ongoing dialogue with farmers is crucial. A participative approach allows effective tailoring and delivering of climate services and supports the credibility of science-based climate information. Such initiatives address wide-ranging needs, thus bear potential for becoming sustainable after the project end.

About the project

Title:
Climandes

Contact person:
Andrea van der Elst (Communication Manager Climandes)

Duration:
Phase 1: 01.08.2012 – 31.12.2015 / Phase 2: 01.01.2016 – 31.12.2018

Funding agency:
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Implementing institutions:
World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, National Service for Meteorology and Hydrology of Peru (SENAMHI)
(alphabetically) ETH Zürich, Jürg Sauter GmbH & Partner, Meteodat GmbH, Ministry of Environment of Peru, National Agrarian University La Molina, Regional Climate Centre for Western South America, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Bern, University of Zurich

Further information:
www.meteoswiss.ch/climandes
www.senamhi.gob.pe/climandes 

Showcase No 1 - October 2017

Rural youth and agriculture in the drylands
Alessandra Giuliani (project team leader)
Sebastian Mengel (MSc student and winner SFIAR Master’s Thesis Award 2017)

Young nomad herder with his sheep grazing on a typical pasture in Midelt Province, Morocco (Photo: Sebastian Mengel)

What do we see on the project photo?
A young nomad herder with his sheep grazing on a ‘typical’ pasture in the Midelt Province, Morocco. While Midelt is located on an elevated plain at about 1500 masl, we can see high mountains in the background – the Atlas. We have chosen this photo to show the harsh natural conditions in a remote area being a strong limitation for agriculture and other sources of livelihood.

How would you explain to a child what the project is doing?
Agriculture as a source of livelihood is very important for many people in less developed countries. However, it is often not attractive or even viable, particularly in dry areas where many young people leave their rural homes in hope to find ‘better’ sources of income in urban areas. The project is exploring how young people perceive farming, and what they would need to make it more attractive and viable, so that they do not have to leave their homes to make a decent living.

What is the project’s main objective?
Investigate the realities, viewpoints, challenges, opportunities and aspirations of rural, farming youth in the research site, in order to determine possible entry points for support and intervention aiming at improving their livelihoods.

Why is the project important?
Active involvement of youth in agriculture is necessary for sustainable agricultural systems but is currently a challenge in many areas due to the presumed unpopularity and chronic neglect of agriculture, precarious living conditions, low attractiveness and viability of farming, etc. To avoid that even more young people turn away from the sector, they must be engaged in creating their own desirable farming futures.

What has been the most positive moment during the project?
We conducted a focus group discussion with female rural teenagers, living in a poor and remote village with no access to secondary school. When we asked them to discuss and depict their village of their dreams, they got full of energy in showing their willingness to remain in their village and to see more development in agriculture and to create their own cheese cooperative.

What have been the biggest challenges encountered in the project?
When asking the rural youth about their dreams and aspirations, some young women said they do not have the right to dream. Young male nomads shared their desolation of being hopeless to build a family, as no girl wants to marry a herder without a house and education. How can these conditions be improved?

Which is the most important lesson learnt from the project?
That youth’s perception of rural life and agriculture is not per se negative. There is considerable interest to develop their agricultural systems, in particular among young men who aspire to have their own profitable farms. Female youth aspire to access basic education and vocational training. Also, rural outmigration is not a first choice for many but rather driven by precarious living conditions.

About the project

Title:
Rural youth and agriculture in the drylands - A research study conducted in Midelt, Morocco

Contact persons:
Alessandra Giuliani (project team leader)
Sebastian Mengel (MSc student, winner SFIAR Master’s Thesis Award 2017)

Duration:
August 2015 – June 2016

Funding agency:
CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems, c/o International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)

Implementing institutions:
Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) - School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), Planet H2O (Rabat, Morocco), Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)

Further information:

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