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Improving the co-production of climate services for agriculture: a case study from Nigeria

Submitted by Christina Daszk... 17th January 2020 15:20
Hands in blue gloves touching an okra plant

Nigerian farmers who participated in the case study grow a number of crops, incluing okra. Photo: Onyinye Photography / Getty Images

Introduction

Despite a strong increase in climate change adaptation research over more than a decade, climate information is seldom used to its full potential in adaptation planning and decision-making. One of the ways forward is the use of more bottom-up and inclusive approaches that challenge providers to tailor information to users’ specific institutional and decision contexts.

Tailored information has been shown to assist and improve climate change adaptation decision-making, and such climate information outputs have come to be widely known as climate services. The Tandem framework has been developed to inform processes for co-designing climate services.

The brief draws on a two-year project that aimed to strengthen the capacities of farmers and government officials to understand and share appropriate climate information and best practices to inform agricultural decision-making in Edem Ani, Enugu State, Nigeria. In the wake of the project, the Tandem framework was applied in an effort to understand how the co-design of climate services could better support adaptation planning and decision-making in such contexts, and to understand how the framework itself might be improved.

Thus, this retrospective analysis examines the elements of the Tandem framework that were (or could have been) applied; the value these elements added, both to the services and to the processes; and potential issues that could improve climate services and the framework itself.

*Download the full brief from the right hand column. The key messages from the brief are provided below. See the full text for more detail.

Project

The African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded project, “Bridging Climate Information Gaps to Strengthen Capacities for Climate Informed Decision-making (CDSF)” was implemented by the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) in partnership with five technical and research agencies.

The Nigerian case study aimed to:

  • Identify and analyse climate information needs, and provide support for climate information production, synthesis and use.
  • Build capacities and knowledge of stakeholders to collect and utilize high-quality, demand-driven climate information for adaptation planning and decision making.
  • Facilitate the mainstreaming of climate change issues in regional policy dialogue aimed at raising awareness on climate change issues to strengthen understanding, use and mastery of climate information.

The Tandem framework

The framework has been developed to guide providers and intermediaries of climate information through seven iterative steps that are intended to produce relevant, actionable and sustainable climate services that meet the needs of the users of the climate information:

Step 1: Identify the adaptation challenge(s).

Step 2: Identify and engage with potential users and other collaborators.

Step 3: Gain understanding of desired objectives, and identify early actions and existing services.

Step 4: Build understanding of institutional and decision contexts.

Step 5: Co-explore data and information needs, sources, formats and modes of dissemination.

Step 6: Appraise adaptation options.

Step 7. Maintain, evaluate and upgrade the service

Methodology

Conducted in 2018 and 2019, the project brought together a wide variety of stakeholders to address challenges and opportunities for agriculture and food security in the Edem Ani community in Enugu State in Nigeria.

The project involved two aspects:

  • The first included field visits, interviews and focus group discussions with local farmers, extension agents, and researchers from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
  • The second consisted of a two-day policy workshop with key stakeholders from the agriculture, water, environment and land sectors at the local, community, and state governance levels. 

Our retrospective analysis relies on: a standard template table with guidance questions for each of the Tandem steps, questions on expected outcomes, and identification of the case study approach.

We examined project reports and workshop documents, including results of the community fieldwork and policy workshop, and compared these with the template questions.

See the full text for more detail on the results and discussion of these results.

Key questions

From these engagements and workshops, key questions emerged that can contribute to expand the usefulness of climate information, and they hold potential to enhance the likelihood that the information will be used in making key, related decisions. Questions include:

  • What opportunities arise in such circumstances? Opportunities may surface due to actual changes in climate, and through new initiatives that are designed to address such changes by expanding the availability of climate and environmental knowledge. How do opportunities differ among sectors such as food and agriculture, water and environment? 
  • How viable and sustainable are current coping strategies for managing climate changes? Are short-term coping strategies detrimental? Can discussion lead the way to options that offer more potential to generate long-term solutions?
  • How can a cross section of users, researchers, NGOs and government officials improve coordination between the state and the local and federal governments to address climate change in agriculture? Would improved coordination influence the requirements for new climate services?
  • What are the ongoing and planned practical interventions or solutions to agriculture and land issues to urgent changes in the climate and environment?
  • Can potential users of a climate services identify opportunities that address mitigation as well as adaptation challenges?
  • Who are the users of potential climate services? Are the users different from those who have the opportunity to engage with producers of climate services?

Key messages

The Nigeria project sheds light on ways to refine the co-production of climate services to better serve farmers in developing countries, and to refine the Tandem framework to incorporate a fuller picture of the issues that demand attention to address climate change adaptation options in such multi-stakeholder engagement processes.

  • Climate services should expand the focus beyond the negative consequences of climate change to consider potential opportunities.
  • Climate services should consider the costs of short-term coping strategies for managing climate changes.
  • Collaboration – in this case, between farmers, agriculture extension officers, NGOs, researchers and government officials – can improve coordination between state, local and federal governments to address climate change in agriculture. 
  • Co-exploration of experiences and learning with climate-informed farmers and extension officers could inform governance practices at local, regional and national levels. 
  • Potential climate service users and their unique needs should be clearly identified. 

Further Resources