Why Satellite Technology is Extremely Important in Food Security

In my last post on why remote sensing is important for soil moisture mapping, I tackled fundamentals quite familiar, yet overlooked in agricultural activities and mostly for small scale farmers in the rural areas. This is therefore a reiteration that without quality data on the levels of climate change  as it is happening on real time, there is no possible ways to prevent disasters such as as hunger and starvation in a country. Case in point, the recent catastrophe in northern Kenya where several Kenyans living in there faced and continuously face the threat of hunger due to delayed rains, which has culminated to having cases of death and malnutrition.

If we had quintessential ways of practicing agriculture, it being the largest economic activity practiced in the continent, every farmer would have access to real time information on any slight changes in the climate or even their soil moisture. This would happen early on before any disasters such as hunger hit, facilitating  the coordination of  efforts, on finding solutions for a nations survival in such a season.

There have been several efforts to achieve that, but most of it has been hampered by silo mentality. Most organizations that are invested in agriculture either do not share coordination efforts in making sure that food security is maintained in a country or there is literally a ton of bureaucratic  processes involved. Streamlined processes and coordination, are fundamental to ensuring a successful dissemination ideas to some organizations if not all, that are the enablers of farmers getting the required information at the right time.

On that note, I reiterate the fundamental aspect of having quality real time information/ data that would benefit the farmers and everyone else in general in achieving optimal yield during the planting seasons, compensating for shocks such as hunger due to climate change. In this case, satellite data has fundamentally played a significant role in ensuring that in countries that have been quick to adapt to the capabilities of the technologies.

As much as i am advocating for African countries, investing in satellite technology, I am mostly advocating for a collective effort for all African governments. This is due to the fact that space technology in itself, is a very costly undertaking for a single African Nation to take on. This then calls for cohesion and agreements to have a robust space ecosystems fr the purpose of serving the greater african region in all aspects of required data.

With satellite technology in agriculture, there are several agricultural processes that can be monitored to the letter, enabling optimal yield and optimal use of resources available to countries to cushions themselves against disasters.

Food security as you might be aware, is fundamental in maintaining national security in a country. Therefore having it as a priority on the list of areas to tackle using satellite technology is important in supporting those efforts. With real time data, and a combination of technologies in agriculture such as precision farming technologies, so much such as disease/pest control would be achieved in very quick and easy ways, saving cost in the process. Machine learning models can be built to enable deterministic prediction methods for crop yields, informing government on the best decision to make when necessary.

In conclusion I would argue that African countries have to regroup and take measures especially on considering geospatial data as gateway to achieving food security in their individual countries.

The next post would tackle the framework that can looked into and steps that can be put in place to achieving this goal.

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