Main content area

Information sharing and climate risk management among Senegalese agropastoralists

Kitchell, Erin
Climate and Development 2016 v.8 no.2 pp. 158-168
case studies, climate, climate models, focus groups, herds, household surveys, interviews, livelihood, politics, risk management, Senegal
Efforts to enhance dissemination and use of climate predictions are often characterized by an implicit treatment of information as a public good. This ignores the ways in which environmental information is embedded in social institutions. For common property resources, important links exist between access to information and control over resource access. This case study of agropastoral livelihoods in Senegal combined data from interviews, household surveys, and focus groups to assess the role of information in the political economy of vulnerability. Fulani agropastoralists in the area rarely used seasonal forecasts in herd management decisions due to delays in availability, the lack of fine-scale data, and the failure to target indicators of interest. Divergent management priorities produced differential utility of climate information for different groups, with commercial producers standing to benefit disproportionately. Achieving vulnerability reduction for subsistence agropastoralists requires attending to the ways in which the production of local knowledge is embedded in social relationships that mediate resource access.