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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - African Journal of Agricultural Research
Title Seasonal precipitation forecasts: Agro-ecological knowledge among rural Kalahari communities
Volume 6
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 916-922
URL http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJAR/article-full-text-pdf/E113D8836882
Increasing climate variability in the semi-arid Kalahari environment calls for better and timely seasonal
precipitation forecasts to enable decisions at farm level and avoid disruption of livelihoods dependent
on the natural resource base. This study revealed the growing importance of precipitation forecasts
among agro-pastoral communities, particularly the amount, timing, duration and distribution of rainfall.
Whilst a number of traditional indicators like stars, flowering of certain tree species and clouds were
used, their reliability is gradually waning off in the face of increased climatic variability. Subsequently
meteorology-based seasonal forecasts are preferred and accessed by most households. A lead-time of
1 to 2 months before commencement of the rainy season would enable agro-pastoralists to adequately
prepare and take advantage of anticipated moisture surplus or avert production shortfalls if moisture
deficits are predicted. Thus, combinations of some of the traditional methods and timely, easily
understood meteorology-based forecasts would enable better accuracy of predictions and allow
Kalahari agro-pastoralists to buffer their livelihoods against the adverse effects of climate variability
and ensure sustainable rural development.

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