The Information for Agriculture, Food and Water Security (IAFWS) Project (or Digital Earth Africa Project) is designed to support consultations with African agricultural and water management agencies to deepen understanding of information needs, technical and institutional barriers to the uptake of forecasting and other related agricultural advisory services, and to develop a Roadmap to increase agricultural productivity and sustainability.
Through this project, Digital Earth Africa (DE Africa), the lead implementer, is working with six regional institutions (including ASARECA) by leveraging its openly accessible and freely available Earth Observatory (EO) data to produce decision-ready products; and harnessing existing networks of African institutions to promote the application of remotely sensed data to enhance agricultural production and food security.
The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to the tune of A$500,000, channelled through Geoscience Australia for a period of 1 year (June 2022 to June 2023). Of this, ASARECA is receiving A$194,919.
Agriculture in Africa remains mainly rainfall-dependent with 90% of staple food production coming from rain-fed farming systems, which makes the already precarious food security situation even worse. This situation is exacerbated by the effects of climate change including increasing temperatures, diminishing yearly rainfall and extremities of drought and floods. Amid this background, food security and water management remain the highest priorities for climate adaptation in Africa. This therefore calls for innovative mechanisms to reduce climate-related risks, widespread adoption of climate-smart production techniques, and conservation and rehabilitation of the environment to strengthen resilience of food systems against the extremes. Earth Observations have been identified as an essential enabler in addressing food security through data and derived products for users across the globe.
Expected project outcomes
- Awareness of the application of Earth Observation data to support development issues raised, through consultation with national and regional organisations, in at least ten countries across Eastern and Southern Africa.
- Women and men user needs better understood and used to guide development of fit for purpose products and services.
- Strengthened network of stakeholders in the food and water security sectors.
- Priority products and services identified, with a development of Roadmap for a solid foundation for future funding for DE Africa.
Capacity will be built in ASARECA in the use of Earth Observation data and the Digital Earth Africa platform to enable ASARECA personnel lead consultations, raise awareness about Digital Earth Africa in member countries on how Earth Observation data can support ameliorate food and water security challenges.
The joint effort will influence the course of Earth Observations policy and practice, as well as approaches to inclusive development at national, regional, and international levels.
- Consultation outcomes are expected to provide strategic guidance on the development of future Digital Earth Africa products and services beyond the duration of this project.
- The increased awareness raised, and capacity built will enhance DE Africa product uptake, hence helping achieve positive environmental and development impacts.
- The project is expected to influence the longer-term course of Earth Observatory policy and practice, as well as approaches to inclusive development at national, regional, and international levels.
- The Roadmap provides a pathway to future funding sources for long-term sustainability of the program and maintenance of the existing food and water security-related products.
- Information from EO will improve understanding of temporal and spatial trends and patterns in African agriculture, from a national to a continental scale providing the basis for more informed, strategic planning and policymaking.
Project Implementing Partners
- Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR): Financing partner.
- Geoscience Australia: Leading management of project backstopping.
- ASARECA: Facilitating consultations and discussion with agricultural agencies and research institutions in its member countries.
- Group on Earth Observations (GEO): Providing access to the AfriGEO community and other GEO programs.
- FAO: Supporting national statistics offices and agriculture and food security line ministries in the uptake of alternative data sources, including EO data.
- ANU (Australian National University): PhD studies aiming at evaluating ACIAR’s Transforming Irrigation in Southern Africa project using remote sensing methods.
- TISA partners: These include the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Boosting Climate Smart Agriculture in East Africa with FAIR Land, Soil and Crop Information Services
The Boosting Climate Smart Agriculture in East Africa with FAIR Land, Soil and Crop Information Services (LSCIS) Project is designed to strengthen the regional Agricultural Knowledge Innovation System (AKIS) by facilitating exchanges between science, farmers, business and policy makers for increased effectiveness and impact of Climate Smart Agriculture measures and rural transformation in East Africa.
The specific objective of the project is to make adequate and validated land, soil and crop information available and actionable in target countries, in order to support effective decision-making in the field of CSA by farmers, policy makers, investors, donors, development agencies and private sector.
The target countries for the project are Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. However, the project provides a blue print for application in other countries of Eastern and Central Africa.
The project is expected to deliver Agricultural Information Hubs for Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya, containing scientifically sound, actionable land, soil and crop information, accompanied by Decision Support Tools. Each hub will cover the entire country with a resolution of 250*250 meters.
The foundation of the hub is quality assured land and soil information and data on crop responses to fertilisers, weather and climatology. All data will be made available according to FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). The hubs are expected to guide stakeholders in the selection and implementation of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies at scale. Capacity programs will be developed for staff at EIAR, KALRO and RAB.
- Farmers, Farmers groups, cooperatives, extension workers.
- Local and international scientists and policy makers.
- Fertiliser companies and blenders
- Service providers such as extension services and credit providers.
- Land use planners and water agencies.
- Projects and programmes funded by the EU, the Netherlands and/or other donors in Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia that aim at boosting Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
Summary of key Activities
The activities in this project are grouped into four Work Packages (WPs)
Work package 1: Assessment of the stakeholders needs for agro-information to support CSA decision-making including determination of functionality and design of the platforms.
Work package 2: Development of Agricultural Information Hubs (AIH) in three countries with actionable FAIR land, soil and crop information in a co-creation process between national and international research institutions and the users; and capacity building of the national research institutions for development and maintenance of the hubs.
Work package 3: Assisting users to collect feedback and demonstration for scaling out. The team is engaging with policy makers, input and service providers, investors and development programs and assist them in the actual use of the AIHs and to collect feedback.