Farmers’ Perception of Indigenous Forecast and Climate Information in West Africa: an Evidence-based Review

  •  Beteo Zongo    
  •  Thomas Dogot    
  •  Patrice Toe    


Using seasonal climate forecasts based on indigenous knowledge is common among West African farmers’ strategies to make farming decisions and reduce climate risk on rainfed season productions. Farmers use endogenous climate forecasts to guide their decision-making in choosing farm plots, crop varieties, and sowing dates. The main categories of indicators of endogenous seasonal climate forecasts are environmental, biological, magic, and religious sources which are transmitted from one generation to another by oral tradition. This mode of transmission leads to biases in the endogenous climate forecasts. On the other hand, scientific climate information is also one way to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on agricultural productivity. It focuses on starting and ending dates of the rainy season, length of the rainy season, number of rainy days, annual cumulative rainfall, and average and maximum duration of dry spells. However, scientific predictions often diverge from the observations during the rainy season due to biases and uncertainties in the simulations from these models. We conclude that farmers have few effective seasonal forecasting tools.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.