FARMERS have reported difficulty in accessing and making use of weather and climate data provided by the government weather service, known as PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), according to studies conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).
The government think tank said farmers in Benguet, a key vegetable growing area, reported difficulty in obtaining raw weather data from PAGASA’s website.
Problems faced by farmers include the lack of access to online information, including social media and mobile applications, lack of knowledge, insufficient financial resources, and the dearth of weather and climate forecasts tailored to their area.
“Some farmers have low trust in forecasts as they are not applicable to their needs or locality and seem different from their own experiences,” PIDS said.
PAGASA Assistant Weather Services Chief Thelma A. Cinco said the agency plans to strengthen its radio weather distribution channel, which is expected to improve farmer access to its products and services.
At a webinar in which PIDS presented its studies, Ms. Cinco said PAGASA will also conduct regular education drives and training for farmers under a joint program with the Agricultural Training Institute.
“The state weather bureau also plans to establish climate field schools and develop systematic and consistent dissemination of warning protocols,” Ms. Cinco said.
Ms. Cinco said PAGASA will issue climate projections and hazard assessments to assist local government units in creating their climate change action plans and comprehensive land use plans.
She added that the agency will develop plans for climate threats and create a communication channel for farmers and extension workers.
“The agency is moving toward impact-based forecasting, which focuses on what the weather will do and not on what the weather will be,” Ms. Cinco said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said in October that the agriculture sector accounted for P290 billion or 62.7% of the P463 billion worth of damage caused by natural extreme events and disasters between 2010 and 2019. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave