WATERAPPscale - Upscaling WATERAPPS information services for sustainable food production in peri-urban delta areas in Bangladesh

Research introduction

Rural households and farming communities in the Bangladesh delta are increasingly developing their agricultural operations and are becoming more (urban) market oriented. Growing higher value crops is essential in further delta development. However, climate and weather risks of the crops are also growing. An important adaptation strategy to cope for example from events like the cyclone Amphan, is to become better informed about weather and climate variability and change. In the WATERAPPS research, farmers initiated ‘weather clubs’; informal arrangements of farmers and agricultural officers to share information, and learn to better adapt in response to weather and climate forecasts. Although there are well functioning weather and climate services in Bangladesh, these operate at a national scale and there is a gap with the location-specific needs of rural-farm communities.

Research challenges

WATERAPPscale, a cooperation of Khulna University (Bangladesh), Water Systems and Global Change Group - Wageningen University (Netherlands), meteoblue (Switzerland), and SpaceWek (Ghana), aims to bridge the gap between existing national weather and climate services and the local needs by upscaling the work of the WATERAPPS throughout Bangladesh. The WATERAPPS research showed that combining scientific with local farmer’s forecast knowledge and co-producing forecasts information results in improved climate and weather information services and has multiple advantages. The main one is the initiation of a learning process, both with information service producers and farmers which improves the quality of the provisioned services. The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 Knowledge Agenda prioritizes climate and weather information services in the framework of adaptation to climate change. WATERAPPscale addresses this challenge by upscaling the WATERAPPS activities following the ‘weather club’ example, to other regional farming communities in Bangladesh by:

(1)   implementing the design principles for weather and climate information services for smallholder farmers that were co-produced at a local scale into 5 new locations, serving as basis for generic Bangladesh design principles.

(2)   upscale the FarmerSupport app for use in Bangladesh to increase the resilience of local vulnerable farmers to a changing climate and unlock their farm potential.