Blog Clim-ARM: Integrating weather and climate analytics into agricultural risk management in Ethiopia

Natural resource management and climate change impact are of high priority in agricultural development.

Agriculture is Ethiopia’s most significant component of its economy. It employs most of the population, mainly in subsistence and rain-fed farming and livestock production, thus accounting for more than half of the country's GDP. Of the population employed by agriculture, a large majority are smallholder farmers practicing subsistence farming on less than one hectare of land. In recent years, the increasing frequency of adverse climate change and change in weather patterns has negatively affected agricultural production, food security, and rural livelihoods.

Providing Weather and Climate Services (WCS) for agriculture is key to anticipating and preparing farmers most susceptible to climate risks. 
Climate insurance, private sector development, and natural resource management are included in Ethiopia’s agricultural policy and are expected to integrate weather and climate services for the development of the agricultural sector. Furthermore, to support the agricultural endeavors in the country, it is essential to map and integrate the WCS into agricultural risk management (ARM).

The Integrating Weather and Climate analytics into Agricultural Risk Management (Clim-ARM) project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and is also being implemented in Ethiopia, led by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. The implementation is timely as it aligns with the country's agricultural strategy. The implementing partners include the Agricultural Transformation Institute (ATI), a Ministry of Agriculture affiliated institution, which plays a vital role in every position, from policy influence to implementation and CATIE.

The Clim-ARM project aims to contribute to the country's agricultural development goal of increasing productivity by reducing the impact of agricultural volatility on small-scale farmers. As an area of focus Clim-ARM will assess small-scale farmers in Ethiopia with a deep dive into climate risks by implementing and developing investment blueprints for Ethiopia's weather and climate services and other agricultural risk management solutions.

The project was launched in May 2022 to validate the Agricultural Risk Management (ARM) tools, methodologies, and Ethiopia's Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs) for the implementation of Clim-ARM. The workshop drew participants from different ministries, UN agencies, private sector, insurance companies, and other stakeholders to discuss the scope, aim, and plan for project implementation. 

The project will also focus on capacity development for both farmers and key sectoral institutions for the adoption of effective climate-smart ARM tools and the prioritization of risks. To this effect, the Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on July 28-29, 2022. The capacity-building will foster the institutionalization and sustainability of the Clim-ARM tool as the participants are drawn from universities, regional research institutes, metrological institutes, and agricultural offices, which will build up cross-learning and synergies with different partners.

Local stakeholders from the Oromia region linked actionable hazard based predictions with risk management strategies and addressed some of the risks in agricultural value chains to develop investment blueprints for integrated WCS in the different agro-ecological zones. This first regional workshop was organized in Adama city from August 2-4, where participants from the private sector, insurance companies, universities, and agricultural research institutions attended and actively participated in the prioritization and identification of Clim-ARM tools.

participants at clim-arm workshop in Ethiopia

“The ideas are captivating and interesting, we should organize other different high level workshops for our stakeholders and partners to understand existing gaps and the support required at the different levels of implementation." Dr. Chimdo ATI

Clim-ARM proposed impact

Investment pathways
  • Clim-ARM aims to create investment packages as part of an investment plan and cost benefit analysis that constructs a pathway for ARM solutions to be implemented in-country.
  • Investment plans aim to help inform ARM solutions, policies and programs from the government as well as investments to be made by the private sector.
Benefits of Clim-ARM private sector collaboration
  • Clim-ARM has an emphasis on linkages between the private and public sectors towards operationalizing and scaling ARM solutions.

A long-term perspective
  • The project aims to connect shorter term ARM responses like weekly and seasonal agro-climatic forecasts with longer perspectives such as adaptation planning to move towards transformational adaptation in agriculture.

Multi scale approach
  • Clim-ARM looks across two primary agricultural scales; the value chain and the livelihood, incorporating both in the assessment of relevant ARM solutions for the investment plans.