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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Delivering crop yield nowcasts and forecasts by integrating satellite data and crop modeling in sub-Saharan Africa

PI: Ejiet John Wasige (, Makerere University, and co-PI Langa Tembo, University of Zambia
U.S. Partner: Forrest Melton, California State University Monterey Bay, and the NASA Ames Research Center Cooperative for Research in Earth Science and Technology (NASA ARC-CREST)
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2019

Project Overview:

Africa nations have significant gaps in their ability to produce and deliver near real-time crop yield information and mainstream these in national and farmer operational decision making. There are currently four "global" agricultural monitoring systems: the Global Information and Early Warning System of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, the Monitoring Agricultural Resources network of the European Union, and the system of the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The data they have published inevitably have a long lag time in comparison with "conventional" reporting of crop production. The data are also aggregated at the national or district scale and vary in accuracy and availability. The integration of earth observation (EO) data and crop modeling can overcome technical limitations to quantitative yield estimates, and such an effort is justified by the fact that EO data can be used to quantify crop health status at any given time, while the crop model can describe crop growth every day throughout the season on a pixel basis.

The goal of this project is rapid development of large-scale, real-time crop production mapping tools that will close a significant gap in crop yield data availability and enhance the capacity of African governments to deliver reliable near real-time crop production information for decision makers in agricultural planning and food security management. Members of this project team will work toward that goal while also developing the capacity of agriculture extension workers to bring that kind of information to farmers and assist them in incorporating it into their planning to combat threats to crop production in the case of abnormal weather conditions. Ultimately this should help to enhance reliable access to food in sub-Saharan Africa.

Summary of Recent Activities

In this quarter Online geosystem for farmers and agriculture business to have access to Earth Observation (EO) information using a user friendly WebGIS and mobile application was developed. The system can deliver weather forecast and real-time satellite meteorology (rainfall, soil moisture, temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, and Irrigation requirements) to farmers to fast pace farm agricultural production decision making in the face of climate change. During the period addition features of web linked maps for hotspot identification were added. The PEER team also worked to update tool and data protocols.

In the next 3-6 months, Dr. Wasige and his team plan on rolling out the Online geosystem for farmers and agriculture business; finalize the development of phone application and lastly, conduct policy workshops

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