This study explores the role of effective early warning systems in providing information for vulnerable groups in hotspots to plan, prepare, mitigate, and recover from drought. Successful drought planning is dependent on the generation of timely and accurate early warning information. Yet there is little evidence to explain the extent to which crop farmers pay attention to and assimilate early warning drought information that aids in the policy formulation in support of drought risk reduction. The study was conducted in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region of Ghana. This district has 97% of households engaged in crop farming, despite the fact that it is located within the estimated 35% of land area prone to drought.
The study finds that, first, the useful role of agricultural extension officers as brokers of climate risk information to rural crop farmers in the district is minimal. This is due to the limited number of extension officers. Therefore, to overly rely on agricultural extension officers to facilitate effective drought risk communication among crop farmers is not the best policy option in Talensi District and other drought-prone areas in Ghana. Second, the drive to build a climateresilient society with effective early warning centers across Ghana, and the Talensi District in particular, will receive 60% lower support from crop farmers in Talensi District— 60% stated they pay no to a little attention to early warning drought information compared with those paying very much attention. Third, little to no attentiveness to early warning drought information may result in less willingness on the part of crop farmers to pay for early warning information from privately established weather platforms. In response, the design and pursuit of drought mitigation and adaptation strategies should be carried out along the three levels of crop farmers’ attentiveness to early warning drought information. Finally, broader stakeholder engagements are required to harness inclusive support from crop farmers to build a climate-resilient society in Ghana.