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Climate Resilient Agriculture through revolutionary Weather Forecast and Data

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CREST (Climate Resilient Agriculture through revolutionary Weather Forecast and Data)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2015-06-30

The context of the innovation is within weather forecasts in tropical region. The business idea of Ignitia is to develop and sell customized and automated subscription-based weather forecasts, decision support, early warning system and weather data to customers in West Africa wihtin agriculture, off-shore, transportation and other weather depending activities.

The objectives of the phase 1 has been to
- elaborate the conditions of performing a full scale test with farmers in Nigeria together with the Ministry of Agriculture using the innovative forecast services of Ignitia
- make a market study for increased understanding of the end-users' needs and situation in order to make a technical requirement specification of a demonstration action
- evaluate the language choices during the demonstration action
- evaluate the best location of a weather radar in NIgeria related to the demonstraiton action
- evaluate competence partners for artificial intelligence contribution to Ignitias system
- investigate potential knowledge partners for phase 2
- secure the measurement values and working methods for phase 2
- perform a risk analys for phase 2 and 3
- formulate the European dimension
- write a business and innovation plan

The objectives of the full innovation project are to:
1. To develop and customize the existing Ignitia services in a pilot project together with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in Nigeria including three most important local languages apart from English

2. To further improve the Ignitia services’ accuracy, by implementing and integrating a Weather Radar and an Artificial Intelligence system while accelerating the use of new remote sensing applications from the GPS-RO satellites into the initialization procedures of the model

3. To develop and customize a new early warning system for the Offshore industry in Nigeria and to find a pilot project with one of the three largest Oil companies

4. To make a feasibility study for the applicability of a new technology based on the Mobile Telecom Network to predict and measure the rainfall in West Africa and potentially perform a pilot project with one Mobile Operator.
The feasibility project contained one work package with 8 tasks with the objective to evaluate the feasibility of the concept and designing the demonstration and exploitation phase to the planned innovation activity. The tasks were:
1. Market study
2. Finding the optimal location of a weather radar and prepare the implementation project
3. Evaluate Artificial Intelligence, IVR and other knowledge partners for phase 2
4. Investigate telecom operators' possibilities to perform tests and evaluation regarding new rainfall detection technology
5. Secure the right measurement values for phase 2
6. Elaborate an innovation strategy
7. Elaborate the European dimension
8. Collect the results from task 1-7 in a Business and Innovation Plan 1

The main results achieved during the feasibility project was a very thourough market understanding and a technical requirement specification for the innovation Project. We have also achieved more information and understanding which has changed some of the objectives of the innovation Project.
The expected final results from this innovation project is to further improve the Ignitia services’ accuracy, by implementing and integrating a Weather Radar and an Artificial Intelligence system while accelerating the use of new remote sensing applications from the GPS-RO satellites into the initialization procedures of the model. This new highly innovative model will be customized and implemented in a Demonstration Project together with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in Nigeria, which could eventually reach 10 million smallholder farmers. The results of this Demonstration Project will provide highly accurate weather and rain forecasts to smallholder farmers in Nigeria who will use this as decision support in order to increase their Agricultural production and to improve their Climate Change Resistence.

As a secondary prioirity this innovation Project will if possible and feasible, test and evaluate new European technology for predicting and measuring rainfall in West Africa using the Mobile Telecom Network radiolinks, and in that case potentially perform a pilot Project with a Mobile Telecom Operator.

The potential impact of the Demonstration Project is expected to be:
+ Increased Agricultural yield for a large number of smallholder farmers in Nigeria
+ Improved Climate Change Resilience for a large number of smallholder farmers in Nigeria
+ A leverage effect on other actions in the NGO development Projects that we co-operate with, such as improved use of fertilizers
+ potentially a decreased deforestation in Nigeria as a result from improved Agricultural productivity
+ a system for early warning that will enable efficient warning for farmers of severe weather

The social and economic challenge that Ignitia address is the combination of low productivity agriculture sector in West Africa leading to poverty and the huge impact of climate change on the agricultural sector in the near future. The technical challenge that Ignitia address is the low accuracy of exisiting conventional weather forecasts in the tropical region.

The wider EU implication of the Demonstration Project is to test, evaluate and showcase new European technology for rain detection and measurement using the Mobile Telecom Network.

The growth of Ignitia will not only create jobs in Sweden but also globally, both for development, sales and distribution. We forecast that over 40 persons will work in the company 3 years after market introduction.
Farmer appreciating the increased production through Ignitia
Farmer showing his wife tomorrows weather forecast