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Sow what? Climate reviews help farmers choose

African subsistence farmers are far likelier to leverage rainfall forecasts into better crop yields after attending workshops explaining the basis for the rain predictions, some of which include climatic events half a world away.

Anthony Patt of Boston University and his colleagues organized short workshops for a randomly chosen cross-section of subsistence growers—those who plant crops for their own consumption, not commerce—in several Zimbabwean villages. The workshops preceded planting seasons and explained the government's rain predictions, factors contributing to their uncertainty, and planting strategies that the farmers might adopt in response to the forecasts and uncertainties.

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