Bringing advanced weather advisories to farmers in Burkina Faso CREWS Impact Feature, March 2020

In least developed countries and small island nations, farmers face many challenges in producing successful crops. Changing climates in agricultural zones around the globe are now bringing even more challenges. Rainy seasons are shifting, bringing heavier rains in some regions and less in others; extremes such as flooding and drought are becoming increasingly common in many areas; while temperatures are rising, making some areas no longer suitable for traditional crops.

For poor farmers, having seeds washed away by unusual heavy rains is devastating and can result in the loss of annual income and/or the food supply for their family. Planting too late can mean poorer quality and quantity of crops, generating less income. As temperatures rise, farmers in some areas need to rotate their crops to higher elevations.

Access to advance weather information is, therefore, critical to successful agricultural production in these developing countries – and to ensure the protection of lives and livelihoods.


of the total impact of climate-related disasters in developing countries between 2003 and 2013 is absorbed by agriculture.


of damage to crops, globally is caused by flooding, while 15% is caused by drought, and 25% by storms.


of damage to crops is caused by drought in sub-saharan Africa, while 9% is due to flooding, and 2% by storms.

(FAO data)

In Burkina Faso, WMO support is bringing much-needed advanced weather advisories to small-scale rural farmers across the northern region of the country. The weather advisories are included daily as part of the regular local radio broadcast, available throughout the region.

The initiative started with an assessment of the capacities of early warning systems and services in Burkina Faso. Technical support was then provided to improve forecasting, while resources were provided to the national meteorological and hydrological services to enhance delivery of weather advisory services.

These early warning weather advisory services were then customized for three pilot areas. Direct training was provided to more than 1,100 farmers so that they understood the weather and climate advisories, and how to adjust their farming practices in response to these advisories to optimize field cropping calendars. Local radio operators where also trained, with the training specifically designed for how the community members access, process and respond to information and warnings.

Feedback from farmers in the pilot communities has been overwhelmingly positive:

“The trainings and weather advisories have been very useful because people no longer seed randomly, they wait for a useful amount of rain before sowing.” – Farmer in Burkina Faso
“These daily forecasts are very useful for vegetable crops because you can lose everything if rain occurs the same day as transplanting your plants.” – Woman farmer in Burkina Faso
“The advance weather information bulletins that we receive also enable us to: plan the use of fertilizers or the use of phytosanitary products; keep animals either in the lowlands or in the highlands; schedule the transplanting date for plants from the nurseries to the fields.” – Farmer in Burkina Faso
“Information was provided on the planting dates of legumes. We followed this advice and we had a good harvest. Those who did not listen to this advice saw their cowpeas destroyed by the last rains.” – Farmer in Burkina Faso

This initiative is also directly supporting Burkina Faso to achieve the targets set out by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the roadmap for how we make our communities safer and more resilient to disasters – as well as supporting the country to meet its national targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change.


advanced weather advisories broadcast by the local radio station.


individual farmers in three pilot communities were trained in how to interpret and act on the advanced climate and weather advisories.


people across Burkina Faso's northern region are now benefiting directly and indirectly from the initiative, improving their lives and livelihoods.


of Burkina Faso's 20 million people are employed in the agricultural sector, and would be supported by expanded access to early warning systems.

WMO is providing technical support to the project through funding provided by the Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Trust Fund. WMO is a CREWS Implementing Partner, along with the World Bank/GFDRR and UNDRR.

Photos: World Bank/Dominic Chavez, WMO Fouad Abdeladim, WMO (x3), UN/Evan Schneider, UNDP, Francesco Terzini.

Made possible through the generous support of these CREWS Members:

The Government of Canada also provides support for CREWS projects directly to WMO.

CREWS Implementing Partners:

CREWS also partners with and/or contributes to:

© 2020 Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems (CREWS)