Digital Weather Advisory Services (DWAS)
Farmer facing organizations can now offer smallholder farmers and farmer groups hyperlocal
Digital Weather Advisory Services including:
Hyperlocal 7-Day Weather Forecast for Decision Making (available across Africa)
Hyperlocal Seasonal Weather Forecast for Planning (in pilot in Nigeria).
FFOs just need to provide their Farmer data and request these forecasts on demand. They then can share forecasts with their farmers and farmer groups so they can plan their agricultural activities, ultimately leading to better crop yields and profitability. Sign up here.
What are Farmers Saying about Sprout Weather Services
In a 1,000+ farmer study by M-Shamba, an AgTech company dedicated to increasing farmer productivity, over 95% of the farmers responding (n=712) found the weather forecast data useful, with the majority finding it extremely useful. When the 1000+ farmers were asked how the service could be improved, 450 of the farmers requested that the partner “please keep sending forecasts.”
In a sample study run by Apollo Agriculture, an Agtech company bringing commercial farming to everyone, 87% of farmers reported the content easy to use and understand.
Their farmers are saying:
“You plan well, since you know the weather” ~Joyce in Nyandarua, Kenya farming Irish Potatoes with M-Shamba
“I was able to plant early at the predicted onset of rains and my maize is currently performing well.” ~Hellen in Trans Nzoia, Kenya with Apollo
“I am keenly following the information and through it, I was able to get labor early and plant at the right time and my crops are doing well. I am also planning my other farming activities.” ~Morine in Kakamega, Kenya with Apollo
Farmers Need Weather Information to Maximize
Farmers rely on weather information to make important decisions about planting and harvesting schedules, irrigation, pest and disease control, and animal care.
Yet Smallholders across Africa lack critical information flow as they don’t have access to smartphones, internet and forecasts they can understand, in their own language.
A 2023 GSMA Study found that Farmers placed more emphasis on adaptation of farming practices and access to weather forecasts as ways to improve their climate resilience than on financial safety nets.
How Sprout's Weather Advisory Services Work
There are currently two types of advisories
7-Day Forecast (available in Africa)
Seasonal Forecasts (Nigeria only)
For FFOs: Sprout offers private repositories for FFOs to upload and maintain farmer datasets, including GPS location, a unique ID (not personally identifiable) and other data that are used to offer customer weather forecasts on demand. Features include:
Forecast: GPS location based 7-day weather data that can be refreshed once daily OR Seasonal Forecast (1-2-3 month) that can be refreshed monthly.
Format: Downloadable SMS format, multiple language options including English, Swahili, French, Hausa, Nupe, Amharic. Ask us about other options.
Scale: Supports thousands of locations
Management: Datasets can be managed and maintained with upload of .csv files or APIs
For Farmers: 7-day weather forecast in farmer-friendly terminology so that they can use the forecasts to make decisions for their farm on a daily basis for planning their planting, fertilizing, harvesting and go-to-market activities. Features include:
Channels: Compatible with SMS or other basic (feature phone) communications channels
Multiple languages: English, Swahili, French, Hausa, Nupe, Amharic. Ask us about others.
7-Day Forecast Content: Includes daily info on projected rainfall type, clouds vs. sun and floods. Sample Message: Fri-Sat: Sunny Sun: Light rain. Mon-Wed: Clouds no rain. Thu: Drizzle
Seasonal Forecast Content: Includes the month and the rain forecast. For significant events, such as floods, droughts, it includes simple recommendations. Example for drought: “Adjust watering, conserve water & choose drought-resistant crops”
Sprout Weather Services Partners
How Sprout's Digital Weather Advisory Services Work
The 7-day service was designed by Sprout. Sprout's weather service partners Tomorrow.io and its partner TomorrowNow.org enable organizations around the world to predict, automate, and solve their biggest weather challenges.
The weather for DWAS is powered by next-generation weather intelligence data from Tomorrow.io. For more information about Tomorrow.io’s weather intelligence, go to their website or read their March 2023 blog here.
The Seasonal Forecast MVP Service was jointly designed by Sprout and CGIAR IITA and the Excellent in Agronomy (EIA) Human Centered Design Team.
Sprout and EIA HCD teams designed the Farmer Friendly wording for the forecasts. IITA designed the forecasting engine to offer 1,2 and 3 month forecasts for locations that are 3KM squares across Nigeria. The forecasts are updated monthly, the process is detailed below.
The Sprout platform generates forecasts in an SMS-ready, farmer-friendly format using IITA algorithm/technique/methodology and ECMWF medium-term forecasts. The forecasts can be retrieved for specific locations and easily translated into multiple languages. Forecasts are updated whenever the ECMWF updates their medium-term forecasts, which are used as input to the algorithm/technique/methodology.