Kukua: Weather Data and forecasting services for local farmers in Africa
Africa’s economy is based largely agriculture and most of them being smallholder farmers. One of the challenges these family farmers face is access to weather information and forecasting services. Lack of access to relevant weather information is due to lack of access of weather source information, dilapidated weather stations that fail to accurately provide reliable weather data, amongst many other reasons.
Kukua is an initiative whose vision is to close Africa’s weather information gap by providing new weather station technology and improved weather forecast accuracy. Kukua seeks to leverage on technology and built technologically able weather stations that communicate with farmers.
It has been established that “farmers who receive weather forecasts with corresponding agronomic advice have increased their income by between 10 to 82% “ (Kukua, 2017).
How the weather stations works?
The Kukua weather station, are small cost efficient weather station that are solar powered with internet connectivity. These stations are established in conjunction with mobile telephone operators’ booster stations. The weather data that is collected in Kukua cloud and analysed. Weather forecasts are done through Foreca, which is a private Finnish weather forecasting company, headquartered in Espoo, Finland.
The customers of these weather stations are smallholder farmers, agricultural extension workers, researchers and commercial entities. The Kukua weather station sends weather information to farmers and which helps them to make critical decisions about when to, plant; insure their crops, apply pesticides, apply fertilizer and harvest their crop. To a farmer the timing of these activities is critical and essential for the farming practice and also has impact on the size of the harvest.
A short documentary on Kukua weather data services.
Video credits: Kukua/olivier/smeenk
Kukua weather stations running in Tanzania, and it has spread to Ghana,Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Rwanda, and currently they have 80 weather stations
More information about Kukua here