Helping Small-scale Farmers Adapt to Climate Change with El Nino information
El Nino is here. Get Informed and Ready to Act. Sprout is providing this El Nino Bulletin to our growing Sprout Ecosystem members to inform and provide specific actions you can take to enhance your farmers El Nino readiness and resilience under these potentially challenging weather conditions.
IMPORTANT: El Nino affects each region differently either delivering more rain or creating drought and drier conditions. Be sure to use the resources according to the El Nino effects in your area. This bulletin content is focused on excess water. We may issue a bulletin focused on drought in the near future.
If you have more resources that are relevant and can be shared out on Sprout, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are You and Your Farmers Ready for El Nino?
El Niño's occurrence is now certain, with focus shifting to mitigation measures for its impacts. Over a 90% chance exists that it will persist through year-end, with forecasts showing a moderate to strong El Niño into 2024, heightening extreme weather events like droughts, floods, and storms. This scenario raises significant food security risks, especially as the globe already faces acute hunger with inadequate funding for food aid. Past El Niño events have led to massive humanitarian crises, and its adverse effects on agriculture intensify challenges for small-scale producers. Mitigating these impacts requires early actions geared towards protecting agricultural assets, ensuring local food supply, and reducing the demand for humanitarian aid, with studies highlighting significant cost-benefits in proactive measures. Excerpt summary from the FAO Anticipatory Action and Response Plan August–December 2023.
What is El Nino?
El Niño is a climate phenomenon characterized by the periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is one part of a larger climate phenomenon known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which also includes the opposite phase known as La Niña.
Possible Impacts of El Niño in Africa
El Niño affects each region in different ways. The severity of these impacts can vary from one El Niño event to another, and their exact manifestation can be influenced by other regional climate phenomena and local conditions. Efforts to mitigate the impacts of El Niño in Africa include improved forecasting, emergency preparedness, and the development of more resilient agricultural systems to cope with changing weather patterns. Here is a list of potential impacts. It is important to understand the forecasts for your region (s). Weather resources are listed below.
Some regions of Africa experience increased rainfall during El Niño events, causing flooding. Floods can lead to loss of life, displacement of people, destruction of infrastructure, and damage to agriculture.
2. Droughts and Water Scarcity
On the flip side, El Niño tends to cause reduced rainfall in many other parts of Africa, leading to drought conditions. This water scarcity affects agricultural productivity, food security, and water resources, which are critical for domestic use, agriculture, and hydroelectric power generation.
3. Food Security
The alternation between droughts and floods severely impacts agriculture, upon which a significant portion of Africa's population depends for subsistence. Food and water shortages can lead to malnutrition and famine.
4. Economic Impact
Economic activities, especially those dependent on natural resources, are negatively impacted. For instance, hydroelectric power generation may be compromised due to reduced water levels, while agricultural output might decline, impacting the income of farmers and the food supply chain.
5. Health Implications
The changing weather patterns can also affect the spread of diseases. For instance, the alteration in rainfall patterns can influence the breeding grounds for mosquitoes, affecting the spread of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.
6. Humanitarian Crises
The combination of food, water, and health crises can lead to humanitarian emergencies, requiring international aid and intervention.
Resource scarcities, particularly around water and food, can exacerbate existing social and political tensions, potentially leading to conflict.
El Nino Content, Information and Support
Sprout Content Resources Sprout has curated and created content specifically for El Nino that can be shared with your small-scale farmers. El Nino Sprout Created Content includes 25 SMS messages, in English and Swahili, that offer different alerts about El Nino and its effects that you can choose to send to your farmers. They range from what is El Nino, to waterborne diseases, livestock security and much more. Here is an example SMS message: “To prepare for El Niño, make sure your farm has raised beds & proper drainage systems to prevent flooding. Clear drainages and repair culverts.” To access the SMS messages, here. Here are some specific existing Sprout Content that can support small-scale farmers during this El Nino season. You can instantly access this information on the Sprout Platform.
Sprout Weather Resources
SPROUT OFFER: If you register during the next 3 months and begin using Sprout 7-Day Weather Subscription Service, you will get access to 7-Day weather forecasts for up to 1,000 GPS locations through February 2024 for free. Existing subscribers are also eligible for this offer.
Other Public Resources: Public information and news articles about El Nino and what to expect.
El Nino's impacts can be far-reaching, but with the right support and information, you and your farming community can weather the storm. Sprout is your reliable partner, providing essential El Nino support and information through our Sprout Open Platform providing content and weather advisory services.
Our goal is to empower Farmer Facing Organizations to equip small-scale farmers to face these challenges head-on and build resilience. Together, we can mitigate the potential effects of El Nino and ensure a safe and prosperous future for agriculture in your region.