Influence of ICT Weather Forecasting on Agricultural Productivity in Kenya: A Literature Based Review
This study aimed to establish the influence of ICT weather forecasting on agricultural productivity in Kenya. The paper used a desk study review methodology where relevant empirical literature was reviewed to identify main themes and conclusion drawn based on the reviewed literatures. The study was guided by the following specific objectives; to establish the ICT weather forecasting practices used on agricultural production in Kenya, to establish the extent of use of ICT on weather forecasting in Kenya and to determine the challenges hindering ICT weather forecasting on agricultural productivity in Kenya. Agriculture in Kenya is an important fundamental in economic development; it contributes 35% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and constitutes 40% of the export earnings. Thus, weather forecast helps farmers on many fronts such as helping them make informed decisions. Weather affects the entire agriculture chain, whether it is determining which seeds are most effective in certain soil conditions, helping farmers decide how much water to use for crops, or deciding how many crops to raise based on weather conditions at various level. Precision agriculture based upon weather analytics is becoming even more important. Information and communication technology in agriculture (ICT in agriculture), has been developing and applying innovative ways to use ICTs in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture on weather forecasting. The study concluded that climate uncertainty also has a negative impact on the providers of credit and markets for productive inputs and can make it difficult for smallholder farmers to benefit from agricultural markets. Climate information reduces uncertainty and can help farmers make better use of new seeds and technologies. The study recommended that meteorologists should consider linkages with end users of forecast information to develop user-oriented products, communicate the information in the user’s local languages (particularly the pastoral communities), and develop techniques for raising the awareness of the user communities on the benefits of using weather information in agricultural practices decision-making. The study recommends that weather forecasts be devolved to the counties in developing informed agricultural decisions. It further recommends that language and communication of the weather information be improved in temporal and spatial scales with the use of new and emerging technology. KMS should enhance its efforts in awareness creation and public understanding of weather services
Keywords: ICT, Weather Forecasting, Agricultural Productivity & Kenya.
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