AfriCultuReS

AfriCultuReS presentation

Presentation of Juan Suarez on the future of AfriCultuReS.

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AfriCultuReS, for food security in Africa



Climate

Climate services

One of the most significant impacts of climate variability and climate change is the potential increase of food insecurity and malnutrition. All the components of food security are affected by climate related issues: Crop quantity and quality as well as yield are affected by the change and variability of climate patterns, threatening food availability. The deterioration of agro-climatic conditions could lead to the increase of the price of major crops, affecting the food access to low income population; climate risks are tightly woven with calorie intake. Recurrent extreme events lead to the modification of the traditional diet affecting the health conditions in societies with low coping and adaptation capacity. Food stability is also threatened by the occurrence of phenomena affecting food production.

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Crop

Crop services


Multi-scale historical and on-the-go crop assessment and monitoring coupled with yield forecasts provide the basis for evidence based decision making on food security. Historical records facilitate better understanding of the agricultural land use dynamics leading to the current situation, and the main factors affecting food production in a given area. Current and seasonal maps on crop land use and main crops grown, allow the precise identification, location and acreage of production areas. These maps can be subsequently combined with other products, crop condition maps, to produce enriched information. These inputs are a cornerstone, for example, for planning and prioritization of zonal interventions aiming at the improvement of the crop production conditions or to cope with food production shortages.

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Drought

Drought services


The Drought service tackles two main types of drought; meteorological and agricultural drought.
Meteorological drought is defined by a precipitation deficiency threshold over a predetermined period of time. In turn agricultural drought is defined by the availability of soil water to support crop and forage growth rather than by the distribution of precipitation over some specified period of time. The impact of drought on food production depends on the intensity, duration and spatial coverage of drought.
Coping with the effects of drought and decision making aimed at mitigating its impacts and the enhancement of drought adaptation and resilience, require the assessment of past drought events, on-the-go monitoring and medium to short range early warning.

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Land

Land services


Land use competition between agricultural and/or pastoral activities with other uses, mainly urban areas expansion, constitute a key factor when tackling sustainable land use planning. The increasing demand of space for urban and other non-food production activities is increasingly relegating food production to areas lesser suitable for human and economic activities. These changes lead to lower productivity of agricultural land. In addition, other factors, like land degradation, soil erosion or the occurrence of recurrent disasters, while not always coincident with land use-cover transformations, exacerbate the decrease of land productivity.
The enhancement of food production requires the assessment and monitoring of these factors for improved and informed decision making.


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Livestock

Livestock services


According to Farm Africa pastoralism is a vital part of the African economy. Almost 70% of Africa’s land is used to graze animals. 
Animals are generally a family’s most valuable asset, providing dairy products to sell, pulling power for farm ploughs and transport for the family. Many of the continent’s poorest farmers earn their livings by selling livestock and animal products. 

Serving the pastoralist societies, the livestock production requires the assessment and monitoring of livestock areas in a timely and regular manner to support decision making, as well as for interventions planning aimed at enhancing the productive conditions of an underserved production sector.

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Water

Water services


According to FAO the impacts of climate change on the global hydrological cycle are expected to influence the patterns of demand and supply of water for agriculture, the dominant user of freshwater. 
The extent and productivity of both irrigated and rainfed agriculture can be expected to change. 
As a result, the livelihoods of rural communities and the food security of a predominantly urban population are at risk from water-related impacts linked primarily to climate variability. 
The rural poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be disproportionately affected. Adaptation measures that build upon improved land and water management practices are fundamental in boosting overall resilience to climate change.

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Weather

Weather services


In the short term, weather factors can contribute to food production shortages and what is more, extreme weather events in the context of climate change produce extreme shortages. Overall, at global scale, the estimation is that food shortages will become three times more likely as a result of climate change by 2050. In view of this scenario short term weather forecasts are required for making urgent decisions. As part of this, day-to-day farm management requires weather information for the schedule of farming practices. 
Weather conditions are also a key driver for the outbreak of pests and diseases, like fungal diseases. Knowing in advance the likelihood of these events can support early decision making towards, at least, the mitigation of the adverse effects of weather on food production.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 774652