Hydroclimatic information needs of smallholder farmers in the lower Bengal delta, Bangladesh

Kumar, Uthpal; Werners, Saskia; Paparrizos, Spyridon; Datta, Dilip Kumar; Ludwig, Fulco


Hydroclimatic information services are vital for sustainable agricultural practices in deltas. They advance adaptation practices of farmers that lead to better economic benefit through increased yields, reduced production costs, and minimized crop damage. This research explores the hydroclimatic information needs of farmers by addressing (1) what kind of information is needed by the periurban delta farmers, and (2) whether information needs have any temporal dimension that changes with time following capacity building during coproduction of information services. Results reveal that the attributes of weather and water-related forecasts most affecting the farmers are rainfall, temperature, water, and soil salinity, along with extreme events such as cyclone and storm surges. The majority of the male farmers prefer one-to two-week lead-time forecasts for strategic and tactical decision-making; while female farmers prefer short-time forecasts with one-day to a week lead time that suggests the difference of purpose of the forecasts between male and female farmers. Contrarily, there is little preference for monthly, seasonal, and real-time forecasts. Information communication through a smartphone app is preferred mostly because of its easy accessibility and visualization. Farmers foresee that capacity building on acquiring hydroclimatic information is vital for agricultural decision-making. We conclude that a demand-driven coproduction of a hydroclimatic information service created through iterative interaction with and for farmers will enable the farmers to understand their information needs more explicitly.