Guidelines on the use of climate data for improving agricultural productivity [EN/AR]



Agriculture is considered to be among the sectors most related to and affected by climatic conditions, as weather conditions play a key role in agricultural production at local and global levels. The present document aims to guide climate data users and agriculture stakeholders (such as farmers, intermediaries and agricultural workers, among others) in the Arab region on the applicability of climate data of different timescales in the agriculture sector.

It provides an overview of the importance and impact of the climate on the agriculture sector, and the extent to which climate data can be used to reduce the negative impacts associated with climatic conditions (such as plant disease, crop damage and yield reduction). Furthermore, it addresses key considerations for making climate services more effective.

The document also provides practical examples that can assist and prepare countries to withstand weather and climate-related hazards; it documents various natural disasters and proposed solutions to reduce their negative impacts. It also highlights the importance of future forecasting data and the role of such data in developing appropriate climate change adaptation plans. It discusses many ways in which the efficiency of agricultural production could be increased with knowledge of climate services, the role of such services in the agriculture sector, the consequences of the shortage of climate data and how these services can play a key role in providing the agriculture sector and decision makers with valuable information to support appropriate actions in order to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change.

This guide also addresses the importance of enhancing historical, current and future climate data (including for short-term, seasonal or long-term forecasting periods) under climate change conditions, as well as the availability of such data and their dissemination to stakeholders in the agriculture sector in order to support all vital sectors to improve productivity, limit the adverse impacts of climate change and draw up future plans for appropriate adaptation policies.

Chapter 1 aims to introduce data users in the agriculture sector to some of the applications that can be used to improve agricultural productivity, for example, by predicting plant diseases, estimating irrigation amounts, calculating chill units for deciduous fruit trees and predicting the productivity of strategic crops under climate change conditions using simulation programs and various other applications. It explores the tools that can be used for agricultural applications, presenting and discussing studies that explain how to apply and benefit from the results.

Chapter 2 discusses how to improve climate services in order to maximize their use in agriculture to support all users of climate data, from citizens or smallholder farmers to researchers, decision makers and stakeholders. It also contains a number of proposals for raising awareness about the importance of climate services, the data they provide, and information to help improve agricultural productivity and limit the losses caused by unsuitable climatic conditions. The guide also focuses on the importance of training courses and workshops to bridge the gap between these services, scientific research, agricultural extension services and farmers. This is in order to maximize the benefits and ensure access of the agriculture sector to effective science-based climate services and to achieve the best results in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Chapter 3 of the guide provides guidelines for climate change adaptation measures and on how such measures can help prepare countries to withstand climate change risks by identifying and assessing climate risks that can harm communities, identifying vulnerabilities, preparing to adapt through initiatives that can help reduce climate risks, identifying and implementing possible adaptation methods to climate change, and monitoring and evaluating these methods.

Chapter 4 reviews two case studies (from Egypt and Lebanon) that show the extent to which climate change affects agriculture and the adaptation methods used to overcome the adverse impacts of climate change. In chapter 5, a series of key messages and recommendations on the most important points and lessons learned from them are presented.