Bridging the gap: How to get climate services to farmers - Part of the Lao Climate Service for Agriculture (LaCSA)

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LaCSA’s last mile

The Lao Climate Service for Agriculture (LaCSA) provides agro-meteorological information in a compact format relevant to Lao farmers. The challenge addressed here, is the delivery of the provided information to farmers and other end-users. While the standard output channel are bulletins that are published online and sent to subscribed receivers, these resources may be beyond the reach of many farmers.

Under the SAMIS project, FAO in collaboration with the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) and the Department of Agriculture and Land Management (DALaM), have tested a number of pathways to give farmers access to the produced content. Based on their testing, a number of ways have been identified that allow farmers to take advantage of tools that are normally out of their reach. To drive this process, the National Agriculture and Forestry Institute (NAFRI) has trained DAFO and DONRE staff throughout the country in the use and retrieval of LaCSA information.

The purpose of this leaflet is to present the identified dissemination options and insights, to encourage subsequent projects in taking them up or building on them.

Tested approaches

There is great demand for agro-meteorological information by farmers. Several methods of providing this information were tested and farmers were questioned as to their preferences. While the tests did not reveal location specific preferences for different dissemination methods, there were clear differences in the effectiveness of the employed tools.

The information was delivered to farmers in nine districts throughout Lao PDR. Employed information dissemination tools included:

  • Announcement through village loudspeakers (carried out by village authorities, training package developed by the Lao National Radio);

  • Announcement through radio (carried out by the Lao National Radio)

  • Provision through Farmer Field Schools (at present can be carried out by NAFRI, DALAM and the Plant Protection Center with the local support of PAFO and DAFO);

  • School posters with the aim of pupils absorbing the information and passing it on to their parents (carried out by World Food Program and Ministry of Education and Sports);

  • ICT tools including an app and posting on social media (carried out by DMH);

  • Regular updates on TV.

Further approaches are planned such as the diffusion through farmer groups (under the Department of Technical Extension and Agro-Processing). Also, NGOs and development projects are starting to test different methodologies during the next season.