Availability, Access and Use of Weather and Climate Information by Smallholder Farmers in the Kilombero River Catchment, Tanzania

  • E. P. Ruth
  • J. J. Kashaigili
  • A. E. Majule


Climate information is vital in national development planning for the management of development opportunities and risks, as well as mitigation and adaptation. Nevertheless, little is known about the obstacles and opportunities for decision-making in Tanzania, particularly for smallholder farmers. This study sought to: (i) understand the demand for, availability and usefulness of weather and climate information and (ii) assess diffusion methods – how information reaches farmers and whether information is used for decision-making. Qualitative and quantitative approaches were used to collect data in the two study villages. Quantitative data were analysed statistically and qualitative data by content analysis. Findings revealed that rainfall, temperature and sunshine were the most commonly accessed weather information. The main use of information was for preparedness and the timing of crop planting, as revealed by about 95% and 70% of respondents, respectively. Barriers to the use of climate information included lack of localised weather and climate information, generalisation of the information and the content being too technical (ca. 60% of respondents). Socio-economic characteristics (level of education, age and gender) appeared to affect access to and use of information. This study recommends the provision of more timely and accurate information on climate, the training of farmers on using this information and improved cooperation with stakeholders such as researchers, meteorologists and extension officers on climate adaptation strategies.


Adaptation strategies Climate change Climate information Decision making Kilombero River Catchment Mitigation measures Smallholder farmers Tanzania Weather information 



Climate information service


Focus group discussion


Gross domestic product


International Institute of Tropical Agriculture


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


International Union of Forest Research Organizations


Kilombero River Catchment


Non-governmental organizations


Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania


Statistical Package for Social Sciences


Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation


Tanzania Meteorological Agency


Uncertainty Reduction in Models for Understanding Development Applications (UMFULA means “river” in Zulu)


United Republic of Tanzania



This work was carried out under the Future Climate for Africa UMFULA Project, with the financial support from the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), grant ref. No: NE/M020037/1, and the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. P. Ruth
    • 1
  • J. J. Kashaigili
    • 1
  • A. E. Majule
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest Resources Assessment and Management, Sokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania
  2. 2.Institute of Resources Assessment, University of Dar es SalaamDar es SalaamTanzania

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