Last week three meteorologists from the Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency (NMA) visited The Netherlands for the G4AW CommonSense project. In this project, smallholder farmers in Ethiopia are provided with information services, such as weather forecasts, to help them make better informed decisions on farming activities. As mobile internet and smartphones are not widespread across the rural Ethiopian population, they receive a daily weather forecast by SMS.
The NMA is responsible for all weather-related activities in Ethiopia, therefore it is important for the CommonSense project to collaborate closely with the NMA. During their visit at our offices in Amersfoort, we discussed how both parties can benefit from collaboration. The NMA has a dense network of weather stations across Ethiopia. These stations are very useful to evaluate the performance of the CommonSense weather forecasts. Weather Impact shared experience and knowledge on how to turn model data into tailored forecasts for African agriculture. During a workshop organized by Weather Impact, a validation of the model forecast using NMA weather station data was set up. Fruitful discussions lead to a mutual increase in understanding of tropical meteorology. The final day of their trip coincided with King’s Day, the Dutch national holiday, where the Ethiopian meteorologists got to experience typical Dutch folklore.