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A framework for enhancing EO capacity for Agriculture and Forest Management in Africa as a contribution to GEOSS

Final Report Summary - AGRICAB (A framework for enhancing EO capacity for Agriculture and Forest Management in Africa as a contribution to GEOSS)

The project entitled “A FRAMEWORK FOR ENHANCING EO CAPACITY FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOREST MANAGEMENT IN AFRICA, AS A CONTRIBUTION TO GEOSS”, or AGRICAB in short, aimed at bringing together relevant European and African institutions, in innovative partnerships, to build a sustainable and comprehensive framework with the following objectives:
- To assure sustained provision & availability of Earth Observation (EO) satellite data and further facilitate their exploitation through free software and direct user support.
- To develop integrated applications with monitoring and predictive models on crop production, livestock and forest systems.
- To stimulate the wider uptake of these EO techniques.
The continued reliable and low cost delivery of EO data and derived products was achieved through online platforms and GEONETCast, targeting different sectors (public, academic & private) and thematic fields (meteorology, agriculture, environment) on the African continent. The successful uptake of part of AGRICAB’s data flow into the flagship EU programme on Earth Observation, Copernicus, and its operational Global Land service, further ensures sustainability. AGRICAB supported the expansion of the network of GEONETCast ground reception stations with installations in Tunisia, Kenya and Burkina Faso. For the extension of related free software, efforts were dedicated to facilitating the data-exchanges between them, to the automated processing of time series and to updating the tools to new satellites & sensors (e.g. PROBA-V, Landsat8, Meteosat10) and data sources.
In addition to dedicated web portal for openly sharing training materials, a time series viewer web service was developed for demonstration purposes. This web service relied on a prototype platform that uses novel Big Data techniques to digest large sets of EO data, developed by VITO with funding from the European Space Agency. This viewer not only drew particular attention, it is also set to be further developed into a fully operational service, allowing the visualization and presentation of the maps and charts on a user-customizable web page.
The majority of AGRICAB’s efforts were devoted to the research and implementation of applications (called use cases) at national levels. On rain fed crops in Kenya, Mozambique & Senegal, these use cases focused on crop modelling and yield forecasting, early warning and crop mapping and on agricultural statistics. For irrigated crops in Tunisia and its neighbours Algeria and Libya, EO was used for better quantification of irrigated perimeters and for water balance modelling. In Niger, Senegal and Kenya, with the latter extending into the Greater Horn of Africa, the livestock use cases concentrated on the estimation of fodder biomass production and on the prediction of, and insurance against, livestock mortality. Last but not least, the forest & fire management use cases in South Africa, with extensions into the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, dealt with mapping woody cover and biomass in savannahs and woodlands and understanding fire regimes in these biomes. African ownership of the developed solutions, with the uptake in the Senegalese ministry of Agriculture as prime example, was the objective.