Improved rainfall information and use of rainwater for agriculture adapted to climate variability in Burkina Faso

September 2019 to August 2022

Executive summary

Climate change is becoming one of the biggest challenges for sub-Saharan Africa. The strongly fluctuating precipitation in combination with rising temperatures will have a particular impact on agricultural yields, leading to declines of up to 50%. This is particularly relevant for West Africa, and especially for Burkina Faso (BF), where the agricultural sector plays an essential role in the economy. The climate here is characterized by variable rainy seasons, short intervening periods of drought and early rainfall, but extreme precipitation is also common. A correspondingly unreliable, often shortened growth period is a major reason for current crop failures in BF. The goal of AgRAIN is the further development and implementation of concrete adaptation technologies in BF, which will lead to improved resistance of farmers to increased climate variability.

The specific objectives of AgRAIN are to support technological developments and implement two related adaptation measures: (i) the innovative capture and short-term prediction of rainfall over commercial mobile radio links (CMLs) and (ii) novel rainwater retention technologies for complementary irrigation using the precipitation information for optimal operation. UBIMET’s contribution to the EUREKA project is the development of a novel precipitation short range forecast method and the first data assimilation of CML data into its own numerical weather model RACE-VAR for short-term precipitation forecasting, as well as the use of lagged ensembles for medium range precipitation forecasts. As a result, spatially and temporally high-resolution precipitation forecasts are being prepared for the data-poor region of Burkina Faso for the first time, enabling better irrigation management in agriculture. The generated data and lessons learned will be made available to the public via a mobile device information and notification service developed by UBIMET based on its weather alert expertise.


Project partners

  • German Aerospace Center (DLR) Earth Observation Center (DFD)
  • University of Augsburg, Department of Geography
  • Intewa GmbH

Associated partners

  • Dreyer Foundation
  • West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL)
  • University Ouagadougou

Project funding

Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in the basic program

AgRAIN is a EUREKA Network project.

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