Are agro-climate services beneficial for governments to invest?

Thursday, August 18, 2022 – A newly published study by authors at the Hortibonn group and Center for development research at Bonn University “Decision analysis of agro-climate service scaling – A case study in Dien Bien District, Vietnam” demonstrates the good value for money to invest in agro-climate services (ACS). Despite uncertainty, the study found that government’s potential decisions to invest in ACS would have a high return on investment (1-16 times).

Agricultural practices are affected by extreme weather events, climate variability and climate change. It is thus crucial for farmers to incorporate climate information in their decision-making on what to plant and when to harvest. However, the provision of actionable agro-climate services has not been prioritized in Dien Bien. “It has been challenging to quantify the benefits of agro-climate services since the weather forecast and agro-advice quality are often associated with uncertainty. Concurrently, the gains of agro-climate services include both environmental and social benefits, which are largely under-valued. The limited evidence makes it difficult for decision-makers to decide if and how they should invest in agro-climate services” says Thi Thu Giang Luu, the lead author of the study.

The study demonstrates the application of Decision Analysis - a novel approach to projecting the cost-benefit of agro-climate service interventions. Instead of attempting to precisely quantify all variables, which is often impossible but often the goal of many scientists, the decision analysis approach aims to integrate expert knowledge and systems thinking to capture the system understanding, without assumptions of certainty. “In many cases, this is good enough to support decision-making and only if that is not the case we suggest to collect additional information on factors with critical knowledge gaps.” says Prof. Dr. Eike Luedeling of Horticultural Sciences at University of Bonn and co-author of the study. “This approach can overcome the limitations of conventional research that often provides detailed knowledge related to a little piece of the puzzle but often fails to include important intangible factors and therefore struggles to provide a complete picture necessary for decision-making.”

With the high return on investment, the study provides a strong positive signal for the investment in climate services for farmers. However, the authors also point out the high initial investments necessary and the need for future studies about “winners” and “losers” within the rural communities of these investments.

Link to the study:

For more information, contact Thi Thu Giang Luu at

Dr. Cory Whitney
Dr. Cory Whitney

My research interests include Decision analysis, participatory and transdisciplinary approaches, stochastic models, agroecology, agro- biodiversity, biodiversity, conservation