Salient Predictions Transforms East African Agriculture with $2.9 Million Grant Support

Salient Predictions Transforms East African Agriculture with $2.9 Million Grant Support

By Staff Writer, 20 October 2023

Salient Predictions, a pioneering force in the realm of weather forecasting analytics, has clinched a substantial financial grant of $2.9 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This injection of funds is set to play a pivotal role in propelling their mission to deliver more precise and actionable weather forecasts tailored for smallholder farmers in East Africa.

The venture will unfold through a closely-knit partnership with local technology and weather collaborators, with a clear objective in mind: the cost-effective development of sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) weather predictions.

As reported by Afrikan Heroes, the ultimate goal is to enhance agricultural productivity and bolster food security within East Africa, particularly in light of the ever-changing and unpredictable climate.

Matt Stein, co-founder and CEO of Salient, emphasized the resonance of this initiative with their overarching commitment to fostering climate resilience. He underscored their dedication to aiding smallholder farmers in East Africa, ensuring they benefit from enhanced S2S forecasts, made possible through the integration of data from ground-based weather stations.

Stein declared, "Supporting smallholder farmers in East Africa is well aligned with Salient’s mission of enabling climate resiliency and responding to the challenges of our changing climate."

The financial infusion from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is expected to be a catalyst in delivering climate-informed decision support tools.

These tools will equip farmers to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

For instance, farmers will be better prepared to make pivotal decisions about crop selection and variety choice ahead of each growing season, relying on forecasts of seasonal weather patterns instead of relying solely on historical trends.

Georgina Campbell Flatter, the Executive Director at TomorrowNow, a non-profit organization affiliated with and a regional partner of Salient, expressed her enthusiasm for harnessing Salient's expertise.

She emphasized the transformative potential of their cutting-edge sub-seasonal to seasonal weather forecasting in East Africa, stressing a shared commitment to positively impact the livelihoods of numerous small-scale farmers.

Flatter stated, "Together with our partners, we endeavor to make a profound impact on the lives of millions of small-scale farmers."

Alex Sananka, Data Science Manager at One Acre Fund, highlighted the pivotal role played by farmers in ensuring food security and prosperity.

He pointed out that the current weather forecasts in East Africa extend only up to 14 days in advance.

However, the advent of Salient's S2S forecasting solution is poised to be a game-changer, enabling the provision of more extended lead-time forecasts.

This, in turn, will better support millions of farmers in the region in making informed decisions about the crops and seed varieties to plant.

Sananka expressed his excitement about the possibilities this solution brings to the farming community in East Africa.

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