AfriCultuReS is a European H2020 project
First project meeting
The AfriCultuReS project held its first project meeting at the premises of the coordinator, GMV, near Madrid, Spain, on April 19 and 20. Apart from progress during the first six months of the project and technical aspects, the discussions focussed on cross-cutting issues, such as climate change, user needs and gender. Now it is time to start the development of solutions that contribute to food security for the eight project regions in Africa, which will be tested first in the form of pilot projects. We will keep you posted on developments!
Food Security Thematic Exploitation Platform
Juan Suárez presented the AfriCultuReS project during the 2nd workshop of the Food Security Thematic Exploitation Platform, FS-TEP, an initiative supported by ESA (held in Frascati, Italy, from March 5 -7).
Juan stressed the importance of involving all stakeholders: with its strong presence in Africa and participation of African partners, AfriCultuReS can cooperate with the FS-TEP partners in pilot cases and applications.
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
Selection of pilot areas and Earth observation application topics (poster GEO week Kyoto, Japan)
Comparison of the spatial detail between a MODIS LAI image (a) and a downscaled LAI image (b) for the Umbeluzi study area (Mozambique)
Downscaling of MODIS LAI data
Presentation in IGARSS 2018
The International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium is a premier event in remote sensing and provides an ideal forum for obtaining up-to-date information about the latest developments, exchanging ideas, identifying future trends and networking with the international geoscience and remote sensing community. This year it is taking place in Valencia, Spain, with the theme "Understanding and Forecasting the Dynamics of our Planet" (https://igarss2018.org/).
Partner AUTH is presenting "Spatial enhancement of MODIS Leaf Area Index (LAI) using regression analysis with Landsat Vegetation Index". The aim of this study was to enhance the spatial resolution of the MODIS LAI product using a downscaling model that combines Enhanced Vegetation Index and LAI images from the two satellites. The results show that it is possible to use this methodology to reliably estimate LAI at a 30m spatial resolution across various climates and ecosystems, thus supporting a food security early warning system.
The presentation is on Friday 27 July 2018, 9:30am.
We hope to see you there!
From large to small or from small to large?
Lessons from the use of mobile apps and geodata apps for smallholder farmers
Satellite and geodata applications for smallholder agriculture are quite new, more general apps for smallholders that make use of mobile technology are around a bit longer. A number of these mobile initiatives have been evaluated (have a look at www.gsma.com) and it is interesting to look at the finding to see where geodata and mobile apps could complement each other, also with an eye on new application fields, such as (inclusive) finance.
The approaches differ: apps that originate from mobile network operators (MNOs) tend to go for reaching large numbers of farmers quickly and then adjust the content, while the geodata service providers start small to get the tech aspects right and then go for scaling up.
This said, there are three areas where geodata could provide added value to mobile apps:
Conversely, geodata-based apps, such as those developed in the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) Facility (https://g4aw.spaceoffice.nl/en/) can learn lessons in scaling up from mobile apps that already target large numbers of smallholders. Getting the tech aspects right is important, but reaching sufficient clients to make operations sustainable does not automatically follow from that.
Making use of power users (and/or authority figures as ambassadors), keeping the pricing model simple, making the service easy to operate for farmers, using local languages and metrics, taking illiteracy into account and taking care of long-term incentives for those in direct contact with the farmers are important findings from the evaluation of the impact of mobile apps that can be taken to heart in the further development of geodata-based apps.
In a fully operational phase the distinction between mobile apps and geodata apps will disappear. My expectation is that the two will be fully integrated, once the geodata apps get behind the experimental stage.
Expect this to happen pretty soon!
AfriCultuReS contibutes to SDG 2 Zero Hunger
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,
|02 - 04/05||3rd GEO Data Providers Workshop,
|07 - 11/05||GEOGLAM-RAPP + UN-SDG + Open Data Cube Workshop,
|15 - 16/05||IFC Global Agribusiness Conference: Innovations for Smallholder Supply Chains,
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|11 - 13/06||GEO Work Programme Symposium & GEO Climate Workshop,
more information Work Programme Symposium..
more information Climate Workshop..
|22 - 29/06||AfriGEOSS Symposium,
|23 - 27/07||IGARSS 2018 ,
International Geoscience and
Remote Sensing Symposium:
Observing, Understanding and
Forecasting the Dynamics of our Planet
|12 - 14/09||EuroGEOSS Workshop,
University of Geneva and the Museum of Ethnography,
|18 - 21/09||
|24 - 28/09||
13th EUMETSAT User Forum in Africa
|22 - 26/10||
12th AARSE Conference
GEO Week 2018
06 - 08/11
14th International Microinsurance Conference:
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