An UNCTAD-backed programme helps nations within the international South harness sicence, tehcnology and innovation to spice up crop yields and farming resilience.
© Shutterstock/Srijaroen | Superior applied sciences together with satellite tv for pc distant sensing and drone-powered knowledge options assist improve agricultural effectivity and productiveness.
In 2022, heavy rains and extreme floods ravaged Nigeria, damaging 1000’s of hectares of land. The nation’s annual maize and rice manufacturing fell by an estimated 12% and 21%, respectively.
With such harmful climate occasions on the rise globally, Nigeria – dwelling to greater than 200 million individuals – is popping to know-how to raised put together its farmers and agricultural sector. It has discovered satellite-based crop monitoring options notably helpful.
Africa’s most populous nation is a part of the CropWatch innovation cooperation programme launched in 2021 by UNCTAD, the Chinese language Academy of Sciences, and the Alliance of Worldwide Science Organizations – a non-profit and non-governmental entity.
“Steady crop monitoring utilizing distant sensing knowledge supplies highly effective data for planning and considerably improves the standard, effectivity and technical depth of decision-making in our agricultural sector,” stated Rakiya Babamaaji, an assistant director at Nigeria’s nationwide house analysis and growth company (NASRDA).
Nigerian specialists skilled via the programme are customizing the CropWatch platform to the native context. The system makes use of satellite tv for pc knowledge to watch crop progress and different climate-related situations, reminiscent of biomass, temperature and precipitation, to enhance farm administration
“The know-how and abilities acquired via CropWatch will complement the Nigerian authorities’s efforts to revive the agricultural sector,” stated Ms Babamaaji, who works in NASRDA’s pure assets administration division.
Highly effective software by and for creating nations
Earth remark and crop monitoring applied sciences maintain enormous potential for agriculture, however utilizing them – particularly on a large scale – might be difficult and expensive for creating nations.
The CropWatch programme harnesses the facility of South-South cooperation to beat lots of the hurdlles. It permits taking part nations to entry much-needed know-how, together with coaching on adapting the system to particular native necessities.
“By coaching and hands-on observe, pilot nations can do the monitoring by utilizing the CropWatch platform, with out extra funding on storage and computation in the long term,” stated Bingfang Wu, a professor on the Chinese language Academy of Science.
The programme at present bolsters agricultural monitoring in 14 creating nations throughout Asia and Africa, accelerating progress in direction of zero starvation – a key ambition outlined within the UN Sustainable Growth Targets.
The work was the results of discussions on the United Nations Fee on Science and Expertise for Growth (CSTD), to which UNCTAD supplies substantive help.
“South-South cooperation in science, know-how and innovation is extraordinarily essential, as creating nations usually share related growth aspirations and challenges,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of know-how and logistics, stated on the CSTD’s twenty sixth annual session in late March.
“Applied sciences rising from creating nations, such because the CropWatch system, might be extra acceptable to the native situations and low useful resource settings of different creating nations,” Ms Sirimanne added.
Enhancing agricultural resilience for self-sufficiency
One other nation that’s a part of the programme is Mauritius, a small island creating nation that imports 75% of its meals.
To make sure meals safety, the nation seeks to urgently enhance native agriculture manufacturing and should overcome challenges from a altering local weather that has introduced extra droughts, flash floods and cyclones in recent times.
Mauritius makes use of CropWatch to assist improve early warning mechanisms, shortly assess crop harm after a catastrophe and get help to affected farmers. The system additionally helps the nation commerce extra strategically because of the info it gathers on the availability of and demand for various crops.
“This can mitigate value fluctuations as a consequence of erratic provide in the marketplace and cut back meals waste in case of surplus manufacturing,” stated Micheline Seenevassen Pillay, chief govt officer of Mauritius’ meals and agricultural analysis and extension institute.
“Furthermore, with storage and distribution enhancements, Mauritius will be capable of cut back its meals import payments.”
Two regional worships are deliberate for 2023 – in Mauritius in July and China in November. They may collect from taking part nations policymakers, scientists and technical specialists aspiring to faucet satellite tv for pc know-how for agricultural transformation.
Extra data is offered on-line for nations which can be concerned with becoming a member of the programme.