Improving the use of seasonal climate forecasts in Lesotho
In Lesotho, seasonal climate forecasts are produced by Lesotho Meteorological Services and disseminated nationally. These forecasts, that provide probabilities of how much rainfall is expected during the rainy season, are an important source of information to help respond to climate variability and hence change. Although the forecast skill varies, partly because the mountainous area makes it harder to forecast, it does provide the end-user with more information than they would have had otherwise. Some farmers use this information to invest in fertilizer if a good year is expected. Other ways of using the information include decisions about the type of crop to grow, how to manage water resources and allocation of agricultural and household resources.
Although this information is useful to some farmers, disseminating the information is challenging. Often the information is disseminated in English rather than seSotho and through a press release that does not have the follow-up support that farmers would like, as they are unable to probe the information further and discuss amongst themselves and with experts what the information needs and how it could be used. However, the information does enable people to plan and shift priorities if a drought is expected and likewise, if good rains are expected it can allow people to focus their resources and strategies and perhaps improve their yield, compared to what they might have got if they had planned for an average year.
—GinaZ 10:05, 14 November 2007 (CET)