Food security graph

Earth observation services for Monitoring Agricultural Production in Africa

Food insecurity and undernourished populations in African regions. (Source: FAO 2017: State of Food security in the Wold)

The issue of global food security is well-reflected as one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 2: Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. It is increasingly becoming a common knowledge that to meet the food demand to feed a projected global population in 2050, the global food production will have to be increased by more than 50 percent. However, ensuring food security goes beyond increasing productivity. It also requires a holistic approach to securing sufficient access to food supply, ensuring the resilience of food production systems and sustainable land use management. Addressing these challenges will require collaborative efforts that involve diverse stakeholders.

Following a successful demonstration of the crop monitoring (CropWatch) system for South Africa, which was developed by SANSA in collaboration with the UK Airbus Defence and Space, SANSA has now joined forces with sixteen other participating institutions from the African continent and Europe to implement a new action under the European Union (EU) Horizon 2020 (H2020) Framework Programme.

This new H2020 project receives a four years’ funding under grant agreement 774652-AfriCultuReS (AfriCultuReS: Enhancing Food Security in AFRIcan AgriCULTUral Systems with the Support of REmote Sensing). The AfriCultuReS project aims to contribute to food supply projections and agricultural risk assessment for Africa. Specifically, AfriCultuReS hopes to substantially increase the use of Earth-observing capabilities and supporting application systems to produce timely, objective, reliable, and transparent crop and livestock production projection at the national and regional level for the African continent.

The proposed AfriCultuReS platform will support the relevant aspects of the EU-African Union (AU) Development Policy Frameworks. The project is supported by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) and AfriGEOSS initiatives, as well as the African Union through NEPAD (the New Partnership for Africa’s Development).

The AfriCultuReS project officially started on the 1st of November 2017. Proposed AfriCultuReS applications and services will be co-developed and SANSA is the Lead Participant for the Services Demonstration and Users Appraisal task. SANSA will also contribute significantly to several other work packages or tasks as defined in the project’s work breakdown structure.

Vaneshree Maharaj