Document Type: Regular articles
Department of Extension and Innovation Studies,
Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Proper use of climatic forecast information in planning and implementing agricultural activities is critical for the improvement of the wellbeing of smallholder farmers whose livelihoods depend on rain-fed agriculture. This study employed a descriptive cross-sectional design involving 12 focus group discussions and 255 household interviews to determine the extent to which smallholder farmers in Mount Elgon Region of Eastern Uganda accessed and used climate forecast information. Results showed that 84% of the farmers had received scientific climate information especially on timing of onset and cessation of rainfall and likelihood of landslides. The information was mainly accessed through radio and rarely from extension workers and fellow farmers. Over 60% of farmers considered the different types of climatic forecast information received to be less reliable and inappropriately timed relative to their needs and this barred most of them from applying it in their agricultural production decisions. The likelihood to use climate forecast information was enhanced by farmers' formal education, ownership of a radio set, perception that the information was reliable and timely. Thus efforts to enhance farmers’ use of rainfall forecast information customize it to the needs of the targeted farmers.