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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 the PI and his team conducted capacity building activities to rolling out online Geo-WebGIS system and smartphone mobile application to staff in Uganda and Zambia during May 2019. Participants included University staff, graduate students and extension works. The training covered Introduction to GIS, data collection and retrieval for agricultural farm decisions. We have updating the Geo-WebGIS system with long-term for the period 2015-2018 and efforts are on the way to finalise full operationalization of the Zambian component ( The hotspot data for EVI/NDVI and anomaly will be recalculated and get updated on the web by August 3rd, 2019. They are working on including real-time spatial irrigation needs information on both Geo-WebGIS system and mobile application. The smartphone mobile application can be downloaded here for android phone;

The PI also reports that there is interest in CropWIS mobile phoneApp developed under our project to be used as early warning platform for crop health & drought information system by Ministry of Agriculture, National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Office of the Prime minister

In the next quota, the PI and his team are planning a country wide training in Uganda and Zambia aimed and build the farmers on nowcast and forecast data retrieval for farm decision making and national policy awareness workshop on climate risk and early waning information. they also plan on carrying out capacity building of Formation Farmer field schools (FFS) learning groups at community level and national staff capacities to access and use daily weather and crop early warning system for agricultural planning.

Lastly, promotion of policy dialogue and advocacy at different levels and develop policy recommendations for increased supply, prioritization and adoption of relevant daily weather and crop early warning information for planning.

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