Ignitia AB

Weathering the Storm: Food Security through Accurate Weather Forecasts

Lead Organization

Ignitia AB

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden


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Project Summary

Accurate weather forecasting for small-holder farmers in the Tropics can transform food security and livelihoods. Weather remains the largest source, both directly and indirectly of yield loss, 20%-80% of annual expected yield is lost due to weather. A farmer can increase his income by as much as 80% by using accurate weather reports(1). Ignitia’s tried and tested proprietary weather forecasting model provides highly accurate (more than twice as accurate as other forecasts), hyper-local forecasts that have been evidenced to improve yields and reduce risks. This will increase agricultural productivity among these farmers and improve their incomes.The project will drive expansion across the tropics to over 15 million beneficiaries in South America, SE Asia and West Africa by funding trials, product improvement, M&E and new channels, improved community engagement and accessibility.

Problem Statement

The world’s population is expected to reach 9.7b by 2050 and food production must increase by 70% to feed this growing population (2). The Tropics, home to about 40% of the world’s population also accounts for 40% of the global agricultural area with over 1b small-scale farmers living on less than $1.25/day and depending on agriculture for their livelihoods (3). Here, more than 80% of the agriculture is rain-fed and with climate change this is getting increasingly unpredictable.Compounding this is the fact that the weather in the tropics behaves differently. It is harder to predict; it is very local and changes very rapidly with smallholder farmers unable to plan their planting season. The main factors that have the strongest influence on crop production and need to be considered are in particular, those that influence crop growth and development. Depending on the development stage of farming, the Weather remains the largest source, both directly and indirectly of yield loss. 20%-80% of annual expected yield is lost due to weather and by comparison, losses due to pest, diseases and weeds only affect around 15% of farm output (Gommes et al, 2011) . By Providing highly accurate forecasts, farmers will be to sow, fertilize and harvest at optimum times, maximizing precious resources - water, pesticides and fertilizer- and make the best decisions possible in times of drought or excessive rain thereby reventing potential yield loss. Short term forecasts are critical for fertilizer and pesticide application which are the two most expensive inputs for farmers.

Solution Overview

Our solution is our proprietary weather forecasting model, which provides increased access to highly accurate, multi-day forecasts and seasonal weather outlooks. The model is currently regionalized for West Africa, and is better able to measure, model, and predict tropical weather patterns. We produce highly accurate predictions on up to 21 different climate parameters, focusing on the most important for the region - rainfall. We deliver these weather forecasts directly to smallholder farmers and agribusiness through a variety of digital channels – SMS, Web App and Web Dashboard. Forecasts are customized to each farmer’s location and are more than twice as accurate as other forecasts. Progress will be measured by metrics related to access, adoption, actions based on forecasts, increase in productivity and retention in every new geography that we expand to. We believe, backed by independently verified evidence - that using ignitia’s forecasts to make weather-related farming decisions will fundamentally improve yield, reduce waste and increase efficiency for every smallholder farmer in every geography we expand to in the Tropics. We believe that players across the agricultural value chain as well as families dependent on farming for income will benefit from this. Given the centrality of small-scale farmers to the food system, the impact of Ignitia’s technology on farmers’ planning and decision-making will lead to an increased food security situation and economic gains the agri eco-system. Our project will go a long way to build farmers resilience against climate change, improve agricultural productivity and increase incomes of farmers

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Project Funders

  • Expo 2020 Dubai 2017 - 2019
  • Fugro 2017
  • USAID Securing Water for Food 2015 - 2019

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