AfriCultuReS is a European H2020 project
AfriCultuReS has started!
The kick-off meeting was held in Addis Ababa on November 23 and 24, 2017, organized jointly by GMV, the project coordinator, and GeoSAS, the host.
There were opening speeches of His Excellency Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia, Dr. Franz Immler, Head of the sector Climate Action of the Executive Agency for SMEs of the European Commission, and Dr. Tidiane Outtara, Head of the GMES & Africa Support Programme Unit of the African Union.
Supporting farmers in Africa with European Earth Observation technology
GMES and AFRICA participates in AfriCultuReS H2020 kick-off meeting
Dr. Seleshi Bekele
The Honourable Minister indicated that food security and agriculture are among the most pressing priorities for Africa. Many Ethiopians depend on agriculture and it is the most important economic activity. Agriculture, however, faces a number of challenges: developmental, environmental and disasters, such as drought and erratic rainfall. A concerted effort of all stakeholders is needed to successfully achieve sustainable agricultural development.
Reliable information is needed for any development and the emergence of GIS (geographic information systems) and remote sensing supports the delivery of this type of information. However, in Ethiopia the Information is not ready for decision-making yet. There still is a lack of available high-resolution satellite imagery, a lack of infrastructure and a lack of capacity, skills and knowledge. Support is needed in the areas of watershed management, river basin management, groundwater resources assessment, risk mapping, irrigation mapping, spatial analysis of human settlements, water supply and electricity.
The project AfriCultuReS can help address this issue. The support of the European Union to this project reflects the consistent European commitment to the development of Africa. Through this collaboration and cooperation with the public sector, the private sector and knowledge institutions better information provision that benefits decision-making for good governance in Africa can be achieved.
Opening by Dr. Franz Immler
Dr. Franz Immler opened the AfriCultuReS project on behalf of EASME and DG RTD Earth observation section
(Directorate-General for Research and Innovation).
He highlighted the main elements of the H2020 programme (the Research and Innovation programme of the European Union that runs from 2014 to 2020), with its three pillars of excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges, and the division of responsibilities with respect to supervision and support of implementation.
The societal challenges (SCs) number 2 “Food security” and number five “Climate action” are especially relevant for AfriCultuReS. AfriCultuReS is funded by SC5, but put into the SC2 programme to emphasize the cross-cutting character of the project. Earth observation is, of course, just one of the components of SC5.
Other important aspects are the link with GEO (Group on Earth observations), in particular with GEOGLAM (GEO’s global agricultural monitoring flagship initiative) and, of course, GEOSS (the global Earth observation system of systems), and EuroGEOSS (see also the item on the launch of EuroGEOSS in October [link]) and AfriGEOSS, which are the regional coordination initiatives of GEO in Europe and Africa, respectively. In addition, there is a strong connection with the Copernicus programme and the associated services through EuroGEOSS and the cooperation with GMES & Africa. Examples of relevant European projects are NextGEOSS, on creation of a European datahub, and TWIGA, on extension of networks for in-situ observations in Africa and development of new sensors. EASME will support the creation of synergies through the organization of events, such as the European GEO (EuroGEOSS) workshop.
AfriCultuReS is expected to deliver improved projections of food supply, to contribute to more informed decision-making that leads toiImproved food security and to be a building block for the EU – Africa partnership and GEO. It is important that the project produces results that are really used, taking into account gender and climate aspects.
The importance of food security
Dr. Ouattara outlined the importance of food security for Africa. The AfriCultuReS project is therefore very relevant.
The approach of AfriCultuReS is innovative, by involving the end-users and stakeholders. In the past 20 years the Earth observation community has worked too much in isolation.
The European Union – Africa (European Commission –African Union Commission) collaboration is taking another dimension that emphasizes this involvement of stakeholders. The GMES & Africa (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, the old name for Copernicus) programme is an example. Several innovations have been introduced, although the programme also benefits from the results and experiences of its predecessors AMESD (African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development) and MESA (Monitoring the Environment for Security in Africa). The programme combines a top-down and bottom-up approach at continental, regional and national level.
The new programme covers the whole of Africa. The implementation of the programme takes place through consortia that consist of African institutions (at least five from five different countries). At least one institution from academia should be a member of the consortium (receiving at least 10% of the grant for the training component that includes graduate education and online, classroom and on-the-job training.
Strengthening the African private sector (as indicated in Agenda 2063), including space and geospatial companies, is also a priority. 20% of the grant should be contracted out to the private sector. The African private sector is encouraged to partner with the European private sector and vice versa.
Agriculture falls currently under the natural resources and water service that is one of the components of GMES & Africa. AfriCultuReS is expected to support GMES & Africa, in particular in the second phase, where food security is specifically targeted. The AfriCultuReS partners should therefore think about the future and the impact of the project. AfriCultuReS does very important work of which very good results are expected. The project is very relevant for both H2020 and Africa and the AUC is very pleased to provide support to and cooperate with AfriCultuReS.
AfriCultuReS in the EuroGEOSS launch
The AfriCultuReS project was presented as one of the example projects in the EuroGEOSS launch event that was organized in the week of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), held in Washington DC from October 23 – 26, 2017.
Professor Pierre Defourny of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium highlighted AfriCultuReS in his presentation on the EuroGEOSS agricultural pilot.
More information on EuroGEOSS
Juan Suarez, Business Development Manager at GMV, Spain
“Excited to coordinate such an exceptional group of people working together to meet the challenge of improving food security in Africa.”
Mark Noort, Director at HCP international, the Netherlands
"The SBAM (Satellite Based Agricultural Monitoring) project, funded by Italian Space agency and covering Kenya (http://sbam.psm.uniroma1.it/), is very much in line with the objectives of AfriCultuReS!"
Erick Khamala, Managing Director at LocateIT, Kenya
“CELEBRATING THE POWER OF GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGIES IN AFRICA: IMPROVING FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA. Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta recently unveiled a four point action plan for his second term in office (2017 – 2022), among which is enhancing the country’s food and nutrition security.
This coincides with the onset of the European Union – African Union project, ‘Enhancing Food Security in AFRIcan AgriCULTUral Systems with the Support of REmote Sensing (AfriCultuReS). The Horizon 2020 project aims to help African countries (Kenya included) design and implement an integrated agricultural monitoring and early warning system to support decision making to foster food security. Leveraging space and associated geospatial technologies, the AfriCultuReS project will deliver a range of climatic, production, biophysical and economic information critical to the African farmer and to enhancing food security on the continent. The geospatial products will be combined in a spatial Decision Support System (DSS) to enrich decision making and risk assessment. LocateIT is proud to be part of a complement of 17 partners comprising European and African institutions that are working together to deliver this all important course for Africa.”
|17 - 19/04||7th Digital Earth Summit,
El Jadida, Morocco
|17 - 19/04||GIS for a Sustainable World,
|26 - 28/04||AfriGEOSS Symposium,
|02 - 04/05||3rd GEO data providers workshop,
|08 - 10/05||ICT4D (Information & Communications Technology for Development),
AfriCultuReS contibutes to SDG 2 Zero Hunger
December 6, 2017
AfriCultuReS project uses EO to support farmers
November 29, 2017
Thirteen Consortia of Institutions to Implement the GMES and Africa Support Programme