In 2050, the world population is expected to reach a total of 10 billion people. As the availability of water and fertile land becomes more scarce due to climate change, achieving food security will be even more challenging. One of them is Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) uses satellite monitoring and agricultural research to provide smallholders, farmers, pastoralists and fishermen with advice regarding weather conditions and other services including crop yield, irrigation and market, pest and disease information.
Food security for everyone through technological innovation
The rise in food prices, a changing climate and increased pollution and urban growth put a greater pressure on food supply chain everywhere. Globally, farmers are facing the challenge to increase yield in a sustainable and affordable way. At the same time, they must protect their crops from harsh conditions and the changing environment.
Together with our partners, the Netherlands is dedicated to help farmers in developing countries to adapt to climate challenges. One way of doing so is to use ground-breaking technological innovation to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) launched the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) to help improve farming practices and enhance productivity by addressing farmers’ needs and constraints.
Data-driven farming to fight effects of climate change
With over 20 initiatives in 15 countries and nearly 4 million users, G4AW can convert satellite data into relevant advice regarding weather and hazardous conditions. The initiative also offers loans and insurance so that farmers can protect their income against the consequences of climate change. Moreover, it encourages collaboration between countries through a platform in which NGOs, farming unions, private and public organisations and research institutes can come together to share expertise and solutions.
Consequently, countries can help each other reach food security worldwide. And, together, reducing hunger and malnutrition, and maintaining a diversity of seeds and farmed animals. A programme such as G4AW is especially beneficial to help raise food production and improve the livelihood of local farmers and fishermen sustainably.
Helping African farmers protect their crops
In Mali, G4AW launched the STAMP project (Sustainable Technology Adaptation for Mali Pastoralists). By collecting ground-based geographic and satellite data, the programme can shape the information to meet the farmers’ needs and provide tailored advice. As a result, Malian herders and farmers can adapt to the effects of climate change. In just the past six years, over 55,000 users have requested help from the service.
In Uganda, meanwhile, the G4AW is working with small scale local farms through MUISS (Mobile User owned ICT4 Ag-enabled Information Services), one of their largest projects to date. By contributing 20,000 Ugandan shillings (approx. 5 euros) per season, farmers can benefit from what is known as a drought insurance. When an agricultural area is affected by drought, the insurance company will compensate the users of the service. As a result, some crops have increased by up to 67%, which equivalates to a 70% income growth.
G4AW projects, including MUISS and STAMP, have improved food production for over 1.4 million farmers and prove the importance of coming together to exchange knowledge and facilitate climate action worldwide. Consequently, we can understand and honour the natural processes of farming, giving every country the opportunity for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future.