Co-producing climate information services with smallholder farmers in the Lower Bengal Delta : How forecast visualization and communication support farmers’ decision-making

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


Farmers in the Bengal Delta are confronted with increasing hydroclimatic risks due to climate variability and change. The co-production of climate information services that address the farmers' needs could potentially assist farmers with climate-sensitive decision-making and managing their risks. This study aims to investigate how the co-production of climate information services through forecast visualization and communication has improved forecast uptake for climate-sensitive decision-making of smallholder farmers. We applied a farmer field school approach to communicating visual diagrams for 7-day, 14-day, and seasonal forecasts during face-to-face meetings using printed paper, and smartphone applications. Results show that diagram-based forecast visualization and a combined communication approach integrating face-to-face interaction using printed paper and a smartphone app have improved uptake of information services by farmers. Capacity building and frequent interactions at farmer field schools contribute to a better understanding and trust of visual forecasts, interpretation skills, and decision-making capacity of smallholder farmers. We conclude that the co-production effort with farmers combined with the capacity building has resulted in wider sharing, dissemination, and uptake of scientific forecasts for climate-sensitive decision-making by smallholders in the Lower Bengal Delta.