16 August 2023, Nadi Fiji – A new tailor-made tool which gives the people of Vanuatu the ability to make informed decisions to improve crop resilience based on what is happening in the local climate has been launched by the Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redi, Adapt mo Protekt, (VanKIRAP) project on the margins of the Sixth Pacific Meteorological Council Meeting (PMC-6) in Denarau, Fiji.
OSCAR, which stands for ‘tailOred System of Climate Services for AgRiculture’, exists to improve the delivery of climate information to everyone in Vanuatu, including the Agriculture Sector.
Vanuatu is the first country to use the OSCAR system in the Pacific. At the PMC-6, the VanKIRAP Project Manager, Ms Moirah Matou, introduced OSCAR during a side event.
“The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-harzard Department along with the Department of Agriculture worked together to develop the OSCAR system in partnership with the APEC Climate Center (APCC),”she said.
“The tool will allow farmers to be able to see from their mobile phones real time data, have access to weekly weather forecast and see what climate conditions are suitable for their crops.
“They also have access to seasonal forecasts, to have a three month or six month forecast on what sort of crops there are going to plant.”
VanKIRAP Agriculture Sector Coordinator, Mr Pakoa Leo said the tool is a big stepping stone for Vanuatu farmers.
“OSCAR is custom built to provide applicable Climate Smart decisions for farmers and producers. The OSCAR system gives the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD) extension officers easy and real-time access to all weather and climate information to farmers both commercial and subsistence. This system is very useful for our farmers,” he said.
Acting Project Manager for Van-KIRAP, Mr Sunny Seuseu, introduced a video produced by the Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation (VBTC) highlighting the OSCAR system.
“This tool was recently handed over from APCC to the Vanuatu government, through the Minister of Climate Change, Adaptation, Meteorology, Geo-Hazards, Environment, Energy and Disaster Management Hon. Ralph Regenvanu on the 11th of August 2023. This is a very big achievement for the VanKIRAP Project.”
OSCAR was jointly launched by the Director General of SPREP, Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Director of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD), Mr Montine Romone, and the Principal Investigator of APCC, Dr. Jong Ahn Chun.
OSCAR uses artificial intelligence, computer climate models and locally-recorded climate data to make agricultural meteorological bulletins (‘agromet’ bulletins for short). OSCAR gives DARD officers and farmers the ability to make informed decisions to improve crop resilience based on what is happening in the local climate.
OSCAR is a cutting-edge Climate Information tool that helps support decision making in managing climate risks. OSCAR can also measure how climate change is affecting crop yields throughout the country.
*This story was developed by Sonia Dick and Tiffany Baldwin of the Vanuatu Broadcasting Corporation (VBTC) currently undertaking a work attachment with the Communications and Outreach Unit of SPREP, funded by VanKIRAP.