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Monitoring agriculture with remote sensing (MARS)


Specific Objectives

The project was initially divided into 8 Work packages.
- In 2002; MARS project will be restructured into 3 sub-projects;
- MARS FOOD 663: Food security monitoring in 4 zones outside Europe.
Planned Deliverables

The project has important yearly deliverables and schedules, directly linked to the agricultural season and control campaigns:
- end January to November for the MARS Bulletin, and
- September (n) December
(n+1), for the Controls with Remote sensing.

These rather operational deliverable are definitely very sensitive for our clients (DG
AGRI, Member States) and for the overall success of the MARS project;

- Kick off meeting and Final Conference of the control with remote sensing;

- Technical specifications and recommendations for the 2002 control campaign;

- Quality control of 6 national contractors;

- Organisation of a 3rd Workshop on Parcel measurement and GPS;

- Organisation of a Workshop on Agri-Environmental Measures;

- Working document on management & control of Agri-Environment Measures;

- Organisation of a Workshop on rural area management and Cadastre;

- Publication of a report on the LPIS implemented in EU 15;

- Participation to a workshop on LPIS in PECO Countries;

- Publication of a synthesis note on the progress of LPIS in PECO Countries;

- Publication in 2002 of 8 MARS bulletins (6 printed + 8 Web issues);

- Implementation of a network of users (CGMS, Outputs of the Bulletin);

- Development of web sites for the dissemination of MARS data & products;

- Results of the ICARE projects (integration of area estimates from various sources);

- Quality assessment and methodological review of the crop forecasting systems;

- Development of a website with real-time agro-meteorological information
(4 pilot zones)

- Publication of summary Bulletins (advanced crop parameters) on 2
Countries ;

- Organisation of regional workshop(s) on crop monitoring for Food Security.

Summary of deliverables made by:
-Summary of 2001 Deliverables: 31/12/2001

No major deviations exist from the initial project planning for 2001, for the main activities of MARS:

- The 3rd campaign of Control with RS after the transfer from DG AGRI, has been a complete success.

- Field Identification Systems: Council Reg. 1593/00 got from MARS the required support for implementation.

- OLISIG Activities restarted with a Technical visits organized by JRC and/or DG AGRI in the 5 MS.

- AEM: The Cluster provided a basis for coordination and pilot projects were fully completed. The second joint publication was issued and the LUCAS project started in 13 MS.

- MARS Bulletin: Schedule & deliverable were fully maintained. Outsourcing was successful.

- PECO: Bilateral meetings and missions took place and a TAIEX meeting in June allowed a detailed briefing on the acquis requirements for IACS.

Output Indicators and Impact

According to the various component of the MARS project, the following Output Indicators are proposed for 2002:

- 12 Member states are using Controls with Remote-Sensing

- Around 30 missions report in support to DG Agriculture

- Increase the standards and improve the homogeneity of LPIS and control methodologies between M.-States

- Increase awareness of Candidate countries in the management of Area based subsidies

- Request from OLAF to prepare a work program

- MARS bulletins distributed to around 300 experts and official users

- Increased diffusion and use of MARS products through Web sites

- MARS analysts requested to report to OUTLOOK Commitees of DG Agriculture

- Participation to EUROSTAT Committees and working groups

- Request from DG AGRI to extend MARS system to Rice and Pastures production

- Request of completion or extension of MARS bulletin (Candidate Countries, Russia)

- Number of countries covered, number of agro-meteorological parameters provided

- Frequency of bulletins, quality of the information and respect of deadlines

- Involvement of the DG clients (workshops, conferences) and expression of interest for the MARS products

- Capacity to answer to specific request (crisis situation in Afghanistan).
Summary of the project

MARS project is providing technical support and expertise to the DG Agriculture for the implementation, the management and the follow up of EU Policies. The project, started in 1988, has been driven by users requirement and thus permanently oriented.
A detailed and complete audit of the project was carried out by the DG JRC in 2000 and concluded with recommendations to continue and reinforce the MARS project.
The European parliament and Council Decision n°1445/2000 reinforces the statistical component.

The expertise developed within MARS combines the use of remote sensing
(satellite and airborne),GIS, GPS, and more generally Geomatics techniques and area frame sampling.

MARS methods are applied:
- In support to the management and control of the Common Agriculture Policy (MARS-CAP-661);
- For the production of pan-European statistics
(MARS STAT-662).
- For Food Security assessment (MARS-FOOD-663).

See also the related EU enlargement process pre-accession (pa) project.


The overall objective of the MARS project is to contribute to an efficient and sustainable implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy
(CAP) in the field of agricultural statistics, management and control.
Several regulations of the CAP clearly foresee the use of RS and GIS techniques for the management and control of area-based subsidies, which represents around 30 Bio Euro/year. DG AGRI is also directly involved in direct funding of large-scale implementation, for instance the Olive-Tree GIS.
The new Regulation
1593/00 makes compulsorily the development of GIS and digital Land Parcel identification systems all over Europe for the Integrated Administration and control System for arable lands (IACS).

Candidate PECO countries are supposed to implement during the preparatory phase to their accession, all the "acquis communautaire", e.g. to manage the CAP, the IACS and corresponding databases and procedures, such as: farmer registers, Land parcel identification systems, and controls / RS
Since October 99, DG AGRI made the request to DG JRC for the transfer of competencies and responsibilities and the reinforcement of the technical support by MARS.
This technical support requires:
- scientific expertise in fields in rapid development (geomatics, image processing, info-technologies);
- overall view of choices and techniques used by Member States;
- neutral and independent position (quality controls of National contractors);
- development of European scale approaches, with objective and homogeneous methodologies.

These different points are justifying the strong involvement of the MARS project and its unique role, well recognised by the DG AGRI and the Member States Administrations.


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