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Enhancing Food Security in AFRIcan AgriCULTUral Systems with the Support of REmote Sensing

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AfriCultuReS (Enhancing Food Security in AFRIcan AgriCULTUral Systems with the Support of REmote Sensing)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

AfriCultuReS – Enhancing Food Security in AFRIcan AgriCULTUral Systems with the Support of REmote Sensing - aims to design, implement and demonstrate an integrated agricultural monitoring and early warning system that will support decision making in the field of food security. AfriCultuReS will deliver a broad range of climatic, production, biophysical and economic information, for various regions in Africa. AfriCultuReS will apply geospatial science to sustainable agricultural development, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and poverty alleviation in Africa.

AfriCultuReS is pushing forward the services provided by current systems, with innovative fusion of multi-source data; EO, in-situ, climate services and weather, crop models. Crop yield and biomass prediction models will be enhanced through the fusion of EO data and climate models, emphasizing the use of the complementary sensors of the EU Sentinels constellation. Geospatial products will be combined in a spatial Decision Support System (DSS) to enrich decision making and risk assessment.

AfriCultuReS delivers the following services:

o Climate: to improve climate predictions, seasonal climate early warning and climate adaptation advice
o Crops: to improve crop condition monitoring and yield forecasts
o Droughts: to improve drought early warning and forecasts
o Land: to provide advice on avoiding land degradation and to improve soil condition assessment
o Livestock: to improve grazing and rangeland monitoring, browsing capacity assessment and identification of available water sources for livestock
o Water: to improve monitoring of water availability and productivity, crop water requirements assessment and soil moisture monitoring
o Weather: to improve (local) weather forecasts and extreme weather early warning

Services will mainly focus on maize, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, cassava, millet, rice and sugarcane. Grassland for livestock farming will also be included in the portfolio and room is made for crops that are locally relevant.

AfriCultuReS is complementary to GEOGLAM by providing national scale crop monitoring. AfriCultuReS will also contribute to AfriGEO and EuroGEO as well as to the GMES & Africa programme. At the other end of the scale AfriCultuReS has an overlap with and is complementary to the Geodata for Agriculture and Water Facility (G4AW), Dutch contribution to GEO, which focuses on smallholders.
AfriCultuReS has a direct relation with the TWIGA H2020 initiative on innovation and improvement of in situ networks on water, weather, climate and disasters in Africa.
AfriCultuReS contributes mainly to SDG 2 ‘Zero Hunger’, SDG 1 ‘End Poverty’ and SDG 6 ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’. With respect to the Sendai Framework, AfriCultuReS addresses the key aspects of reducing the impact of disasters, while reducing financial risk for the main stakeholders through cooperation with the financial sector.

At the end AfriCultuReS aims at bringing solutions to the market to ensure its sustainability, in this regard AfriCultuReS is teaming up with potential clients. If solutions are created not only for, but also with clients, market readiness can be achieved quicker and more easily.
The Second Reporting Period (M19-M36 – May-2019 to Oct-2020) falls within the refinement of the user’s requirements, the implementation of the production chain and validation of services and encompassing products, and the release of the first pre-operational version of the decision support system. With reference to the technical objectives, the goals are:

o Refinement of users’ requirements
o Definition of the service portfolio
o Implementation and testing of the production chain
o Implementation of the data-hub and Data Server development
o Release of the first version of the IT platform
o Validation of products and services
o Follow-up of regional market monitoring
o Early planning of capacity building and execution of the second round of National Workshops

The work carried out and results achieved include:

o Project Coordination

- Maintain contract matters and distribution of payments
- Maintenance of the internal management tools (REDMINE, shared repository)
- Update of plan governing data management in compliance with the H2020 ORDP
- Steer work among partners. Follow up deliverables progress.
- Follow-up of the Project Board.
- Organisation of the 1st Project Review and coordination subsequent actions resulting out from the review.
- Project Progress Reporting (this document)

o Scientific and Technical coordination

- Re-definition of the scope of the project, agreement on definitions of the most important concepts, geographical scope, agricultural systems that are covered according to the recommendations got in the first review.
- Coordination of the Scientific and Technical Coordination Board of the project
- Coordination of the Users and Advisory Boards meetings

o Refinement of users’ requirements on the basis of the interactions with users during the previous reporting period and the second round of National Users Workshops led by African participants

o Refinement of the service portfolio on the basis of risks analysis, identified agricultural systems, scope of the project, users’ requirements and advice from the EC’s nominate Experts as well as from the project Advisory Board.

o Implementation of the production chain for the delivery of services, based on the integration of primary data inputs (EO and no-EO) and ancillary data required for training and validation.

o Implementation and early accuracy assessment of processing chains for the estimation of crop yield at different spatial resolution (high and coarse) and time leads (seasonal forecast and climate change projections).

o Consolidation of the Validation plan, exploring alternative means to conduct the validation in a ground-truth-less mode to mitigate the effect of COVID-19

o Implementation of the Data Storage Requirements and data Server development

o Implementation of the backend of the IT platform, connecting all the service providers, their data pipeline and internal federation of micro-services

o Update of the dissemination and communication plan and execution of communication actions including:

- Participation in face-to-face and virtual meetings and workshops
- Press releases
- Project brochures
- Marketing material

o Design of the Capacity Development strategy, according to the needs detected in each of the African countries participating in the project. Capacity development needs have been gathered throughout to the face to face events held during the first and second reporting periods.

o Follow-up on the monitoring of current programmes to which AfriCultuReS can serve in view of future sustainability

o Follow-up of Regional Market Monitoring with African participants aimed gathering their perspectives for future development as well as to feed the Business Planning activities
AfriCultuReS Logo landscape - high resolution
AfriCultuReS Logo square - high resolution