Climatic Change

, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 73-90

First online:

Seasonal Climate Forecasts – Potential Agricultural-Risk Management Tools?

  • E. KlopperAffiliated withUniversity of Pretoria Email author 
  • , C. H. VogelAffiliated withUniversity of the Witwatersrand
  • , W. A. LandmanAffiliated withUniversity of Pretoria

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The importance of anchoring seasonal climate forecasts to user needs is examined in this paper. Although it is generally accepted that seasonal climate forecasts have potential value, many constraints preclude the optimal use of these forecasts, including the way forecasts are produced, interpreted and applied in a variety of decision-making processes. In South Africa, a variety of agricultural users exists, ranging from the small-scale farmer to larger commercial farming entities. Useful seasonal are those produced and disseminated with the end user in mind. A retroactive test period during the 1990s, evaluates the perceived impact of incorporating seasonal rainfall forecasts into decisions made by commercial crop farmers in the central parts of South Africa. Although a small sample of commercial farmers was interviewed, the results show some benefits to commercial agriculture if seasonal climate forecast information is continuously and effectively applied over the long-term.