Crop monitoring system widely hailed by key agricultural stakeholders

The agricultural sector in South Africa is set to benefit from the crop monitoring system that has recently been developed by the SANSA in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space. The crop monitoring system called Crop Watch for South Africa was funded by the UK Space Agency under the International Space Partnership Program. Crop Watch system is aimed to providing crop stress information to the farming community in South Africa.

An end to end system that uses DMC, SPOT 6, and Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 satellite imagery was developed for the production of temporal vegetation characteristics indicative of crop vigor and stress. A number of stakeholders a set to benefit from this system and these include the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), National Agricultural Marketing Authority (NAMC), Farmers, Commercial Banks, Insurance Firms and Agricultural Chamber of Commerce.

Further work on Crop Watch will be aimed at extending the functionality of the monitoring system to include crop yield estimations and forecasting. This project clearly demonstrates the value of satellite-based remote sensing in food security and has been widely applauded by key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

Vaneshree Maharaj