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Using seasonal forecasts to support farmer adaptation to climate risks. FAO Agricultural Development Economics Policy Brief 14

The brief uses a unique set of data from Zambia collected from smallholders before and after the 2015/2016 ENSO event, which was widely anticipated by regional and global forecast services to contribute to dry conditions in southern Zambia and an overall shorter growing season. Three findings emerge from the analysis. Farmers receiving seasonal weather forecasts are more likely to adopt cropping systems and seed varieties that are adapted to the expected weather conditions, yet access to weather information remains limited. Access to competitive private markets increases the probability that a farmer will adopt drought tolerant cropping systems and improved seeds in response to an adverse seasonal forecast. Policies that attract private investment in smallholder markets can improve farmers’ adaptive response to anticipated weather events.

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