AGRHYMET from the satellite to the hoe
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CTA. 1988. AGRHYMET from the satellite to the hoe. Spore 14. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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As a result of the major drought experienced during the 1970 s, the member countries of CILSS (Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) launched the AGHRYMET programme. As its name indicates (an acronym for agro-hydro-meteorology), it...
As a result of the major drought experienced during the 1970 s, the member countries of CILSS (Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) launched the AGHRYMET programme. As its name indicates (an acronym for agro-hydro-meteorology), it is designed to make hydrological data more useful for agricultural purposes to ensure that optimum use is made of the little water resources available in the atmosphere, on the ground or in the water table. AGRHYMET's regional centre in Niamey co-ordinates the programme, by centralizing and processing the data from nine national meteorological services. Field observers provide daily readings of agroclimatological and meteorological conditions to the national centres which forward summaries to Niamey. This information is then processed and enriched with regional data provided by weather satellites and then sent back to the national services to pass on to interested users. The programme also incorporates observations made by certain public or private services as well as those of the Agency for the Security of Aerial Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASENCA). Having such information readily available enables better planning of agricultural activities, such as seeding times, predicting harvesting conditions or implementing emergency programmes to deal with insect invasions or disease outbreaks. It also improves the ability to evaluate future harvests by taking into consideration the meteorological conditions that prevail during the growing season. In the long term, the analysis of data collected over several years facilitates the task of national planning services when they need, for example, to introduce a new crop that will suffer minimum losses under rare but possible climatic conditions. Weather bulletins, maps or reports produced by AGRHYMET are not only destined for government agencies or international and national research organizations. The objective of AGRHYMET is to make such information available to end users, notably farmers, through extension services and the media. That is why after an initial phase dedicated to establishing its data collection and analysis system, this programme is now entering a new phase designed to ensure that its services can become a valuable working tool for farmers. If countries in the Sahel have been pioneers in this field more humid regions of Africa are now beginning to pay similar attention to better exploitation of agrometeorological information. It was in this context that a seminar on this subject was recently held in Benin (see article on page 16). For more details, contact: AGRHYMET B P 11011 Niamey NIGER
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