Scope & Background
The Countries-at-Risk component addresses those countries whose agricultural monitoring requirements stem from the need for timely food security assessment and early warning of potential food shortage emergencies. Agriculture in such countries is often characterized by smallholder farming and pastoralism, which are vulnerable to extremes of climate variability. At the same time, the in-situ climate observation networks for these countries tend to be sparse and characterized by delayed and incomplete reporting. Therefore, satellite remote sensing and related modeling are used to complement reporting by national and regional organizations. These data and information products are used by early warning systems - in conjunction with information on livelihoods, markets, and nutrition - to help anticipate potential food security emergencies and mobilize appropriate humanitarian aid when necessary.
Activities of the Countries-at-Risk Component fall mainly in the following areas:
● Improvements to existing remote sensing datasets used for monitoring.
● Development of enhanced processing capabilities for handling long time-series satellite datasets.
● Development of software tools that facilitate the manipulation of time-series grids.
● Building collaborative processes to share knowledge and information, and to build international consensus regarding current crop conditions and seasonal prospects.
● Developing capacity of partners in regional and national organizations to use freely available software tools to access and process EO monitoring data.
Countries-at-Risk component successfully launched the Crop Monitor for Early Warning (CM4EW), an analog to the AMIS Crop Monitor aiming at Countries-at-Risk, in February 2016. This new monthly information product is being prepared through a collaborative process involving mainly WFP, FEWS NET, JRC, ARC and Asia-RiCE. Input coordination, compilation of maps and charts, and publication of the CM4EW are handled by UMD.
The launch is the result of a series of preparatory meetings and prototyping exercises in 2014 and 2015, including the development of a standards document for crop condition classification. The preparatory work has also lead to the compilation of large improved contextual reference datasets such as crop masks and calendars.
Software tools that have been released include SPIRITS and CST (Crop Growth Monitoring System - CGMS Statistical Tool, from JRC), standalone ASIS (Agricultural Stress Index System) and AgroMetShell (from FAO), and GeoCLIM, GeoWRSI, and GeoCOF (from FEWS NET). All of these tools are being constantly improved and updated and training has been provided to partners involved in regional and national crop monitoring activities.
GEOGLAM Countries-at-Risk component partners contributed significantly to the agenda and participation in the successful JRC-AUC conference “Information for Meeting Africa’s Agricultural Transformation and Food Security Goals” (IMAAFS) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 1-3, 2014.
● European Commission Joint Research Center MARS (Monitoring Agricultural ResourceS) Unit
● USAID Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)
● UN WFP (World Food Program)
● Asia-RiCE initiative
● South-Africa Agricultural Research Centre (ARC)
A major priority going forward will be to increase the number of analysts contributing to the monthly CM4EW by engaging national and regional crop monitoring organizations in the regular collaborative process. This will increase the quality of the content of the CM4EW by incorporating more local knowledge of current crop conditions, and by making improvements to the crop masks and crop calendars used by CM4EW analysts. Also, user’s feedback will be carefully evaluated and taken into consideration for improvement and adaptation to the needs of the community.
EWCM Website : geoglam-crop-monitor.org
Leadership (Points of Contact).