EU global action webinar
AfriCultuReS participated in the EU space data in action: supporting sustainable economic growth & a greener future for Africa webinar that was held on May 19 with presentations from Clarisse Kagoyire (on index-based crop insurance in Rwanda), Derick Ongeri / Vivianne Meta (on avocado production monitoring in Kenya) and Juan Suarez (on the future of AfriCultuReS).
A follow-up webinar in French was held on May 31: l’Afrique et les donnes spatiales Europeénnes, with presentations from Evence Zoungrana on the use of Copernicus data for agricultural monitoring in Tunisia and Zakari Abdourahamane on remote sensing for livestock management in Niger.
Embedding Earth observation initiatives in localised contexts for financial sustainability – involving smallholder food producers and local governments
These are the main takeaways from the panel discussion of the GEO week side-event organised by the Geodata for Agriculture and Water Facility (G4AW – Netherlands Space Office), and the AfriCultuReS and TWIGA Horizon2020 projects, with presentations from Frank Annor, Lilian Benzid, Akua Benewaa and Mango Mbambi :
- Co-design: involve key partners from the start;
- Make use of rural entrepreneurship;
- As we deal with data driven-solutions, use local service
- The best strategy for scaling depends very much on the
type of service offered;
- Licence-to-operate and (often) commitment from the
government is essential;
- Make use of reliable local actors and/or integrators for
local embedding (e.g. TAHMO with weather stations
- Show impact of Earth observation and data-driven
solutions (cost-saving, time saving, improved
- Develop standard products / services that can be easily
replicated in other countries / regions (and make use of
a common platform).
Presentation on AfriCultuReS flood mapping product at EGU 2021
Cherif, I., Ovakoglou, G., Alexandridis, T. K., Mensah, F., and Garba, I.
Near real time high resolution mapping of flood extent in west African sites,
EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15170
To the abstract of the presentation
Tele-training by OSS
OSS organised a “Tele-training on operational modelling of wheat growth and its yield estimate” within the framework of the AfriCultuReS and GMES-Africa projects in partnership with the CNCT (National Center for Mapping and Remote Sensing) - ONAGRI (National Observatory of Agriculture) and INRGREF (National Institute for Research in Rural Engineering, Water and Forests), from 20 to 22 April 2020.
Fourth progress meeting
The fourth AfriCultuReS project meeting was held in Kigali, Rwanda on November 21 and 22, 2019, in conjunction with the AfricaGIS conference. Maize, wheat, potatoes and sorghum were selected as number one priority crops, while cassava, millet, rice and sugarcane where indicated as second priority crops. In addition to these crops, grasslands will be added for livestock and rangeland management.
Other topics for discussion were the AfriCultuReS methodology, the combination of satellite and in situ data, validation and calibration, data fusion and services federation, the AfriCultuReS IT platform, the business model and capacity development.
Services in development (poster GEO week Canberra, Australia)
Grant for AfriCultuReS
The H2020 AfriCultuReS project has been awarded by GEO (Group on Earth Observations) and AWS (Amazon Web Services) under the Amazon Sustainability Date Initiative with cloud services to provide Earth observation services in support of food security in Africa. The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will coordinate the initiative titled “AfriCultuReS Decision Support System (ADSS) Community Version”.
AfriCultuReS as GEO community activity
AfriCultuReS is accepted as a community activity in the 2020 – 2022 Work Programme of the Group on Earth Observations.
This provides a very good opportunity to stimulate the development of concrete Earth observation-based solutions for food security in Africa through international cooperation.
Ground Truth week 2019
Mark Noort (HCP) participated in the closing panel of the Ground Truth 2.0 week in Delft, the Netherlands on October 4, 2019, and stressed the importance of making use of citizens’ observatories and the methodology developed and lessons learned of Ground Truth 2.0 in the AfriCultuReS project.
Europe’s eyes in the sky
“Europe’s eyes in the sky are helping to solve energy, land-use problems in Africa”
is the title of an article (by Aisling Irwin) in Horizon magazine, in which AfriCultuReS participants Juan Suárez, Issa Garba and Mark Noort give their views on achieving food security in Africa with the help of satellite data.
Third project meeting
The project partners met in Thessaloniki, Greece, on May 20 and 21 to discuss future plans. Seven main service categories were identified:
Although it is already complicated to develop these services technically, bringing solutions to the market takes even more time: needing a period of ten years to do this is not uncommon. That’s why the AfriCultuReS partners started the discussion of teaming up with potential clients right away. If solutions are created not only for, but also with clients, market readiness can be achieved quicker and more easily.
Developing services for and with regional governments, such as county, provincial or district governments is an interesting option. Fulfilling the agricultural potential is a priority for local government and by improving the analysis and prediction of potential yields and monitoring of actual yields, useful intelligence for improving agricultural policy can be delivered.
The private sector is another good partner. Working with input suppliers, buyers, sellers and the processing industry can lead to an interesting bundling of services that benefit farmers and that are economically feasible. With financial institutions products can be developed that reduce the risks of providing (micro-)credit, possibly coupled with the delivery of index insurance products that are based on satellite information.
What will happen next? First the technical solutions will have to be worked out more in detail and tailored to the needs of each local context. To do that pilots will be carried out in Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, Niger, Tunisia and Ethiopia. Although a lot of information can be derived from satellites, gathering information on the ground for validation and calibration is indispensable.
In parallel a chain of workshops will be organised in these countries to engage with partners and to finetune the users’ needs assessment.
Second project meeting
The AfriCultuReS project held its second progress meeting in November 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa, organised by SANSA.
The meeting focused on the analysis of user needs that were identified in the regional stakeholder requirement workshops and how to match these with technical solutions based on satellite information to achieve maximum impact for food security.
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.
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 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
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