Climate Service Model for South Sudan's Rural Farmers and Agro-pastoralists

Using experimental data from a pilot project administered in rural Tonj South, Aweil West, and Aweil North, this paper studies climate services reception and application in South Sudan. The pilot climate service was first of its kind directly delivered to farmers and agro-pastoralists in the country. The results are encouraging: a vast majority of the project beneficiaries received climate conditions advice, used it, trusted it, and are now interested to make use of such services in the future. This positive reception implies a growing interest by agro-pastoralists and farmers to use weather forecasts to make informed farming decisions. We recommend a number of policies to strengthen this interest, with the objective of improving livelihoods for the rural population. First, there is need to establish a permanent national technical working group on climate services to coordinate, review, translate and disseminate climate information to key end users (e.g., agro-pastoralists, farmers, health professionals, airlines, etc). Support for this group could be drawn from the Global Environment Facility. Second, a financial and meteorological strategy for long-term climate services in South Sudan is desired. Third, the stakeholders should institute a climate data sharing agreement for more informed coordination and decision-making. These data would need generating using equipment that meets the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) standards. Fourth, more studies to increase understanding of the role of traditional rainmakers and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), creating an integrated climate services model to inform livelihoods and policies, are suggested. Finally, the stakeholders should mobilize resources to improve national capacity on climate information by strengthening South Sudan Meteorological Department through equipment acquisition, training and exchange visits with global forecasting centers, such NOAA’s Africa Training Desk.