Ag Tech News

Space Technology to Improve Farmer Livelihoods Across the Drylands

A new experimental tripartite collaboration between researchers from ICARDA, Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences (NARSS), and the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (EC JRC) is taking shape, aiming to optimize the use of Earth Observation Systems (EOS) for agricultural research.

The collaboration builds on a joint vision targeting the enhanced exchange of data and remote sensing tools, creating new links between space scientists, resource poor farmers, and agro-ecosystem researchers in Egypt and across the dry areas.

The new initiative was discussed during a recent technical meeting in Cairo, Egypt, when researchers from the three participating institutions discussed actual cases and tangible ways of using remote sensing to better monitor agricultural dynamics, yield gaps, land degradation, irrigation water usage, and other environmental indicators, which could help to inform the development of climate change adaptation strategies.

The collaboration will benefit from data contributed by EC JRC, gathered from a number of European Union agencies and member states, including Copernicus, a European program that builds capacity to utilize Earth Observation technology. The data will inform the design and development of new research approaches and tools that can be applied on the ground, initially in Egypt where scarce water resources and rapid land degradation threaten the agricultural sector and the viability of rural livelihoods.

In 2016, ICARDA and NARSS signed a general Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which laid the ground for collaboration, enhancing the development of science-based agricultural innovations. With the involvement of EC JRC, the exchange of data and knowledge and the pursuit of synergies in the field of ‘precision agriculture’ will be strengthened even further.


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