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Sri Lanka farmers get weather forecasts from birds: Survey

ECONOMYNEXT – Farmers in Sri Lanka are turning to technology to predict the weather as climate change makes traditional forecasting methods – like watching birds and blossoms – unreliable, but adoption is slow, the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank, said.

Nearly 60 percent of 900 farmers surveyed by the IPS claimed to still use traditional methods, such as animal behaviour, to predict the weather.

Only 43 percent said they did not use traditional methods for weather forecasting, the report said.

"Farmers observed that with the recent changes in the global climate, their local predictions have become less reliable," IPS researcher Dilani Hirimuthugodage wrote, in a blog focussing on climate change.


Around 60 percent of farmers taking part in the survey said they observed animal behaviour – like eagles flying high in the sky or the number of chicks in a crow’s nest – or blossoming of certain indigenous plants, appearance of various insects, and changes in cloud patterns and wind to make farming decisions.

They looked to nature for clues about the onset of rain, intensity of rain fall, duration of rains, wind speed, wind direction, day temperature and humidity levels.

Farmers also said once-familiar patterns of local climate have changed significantly.

Infrastructural projects and construction of physical structures which are designed to make human life easier have changed the natural environment in some areas, making it difficult for farmers to look for familiar patterns and clues.

Technology can help farmers overcome these challenges and make better decisions.





"The Department of Meteorology is providing science-based weather forecasts to selected farmer groups as a pilot study," Hirimuthugodage said.

"It’s important to provide weather forecasts focused at local levels rather than at district levels for higher accuracy," she said.

Read the full article at https://climatenet.blogspot.com/2018/07/sri-lankan-farmers-traditional.html#more. (COLOMBO, 16 July 2018)


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