Agriculture is an important part of the African economy. The continent is rich in natural resources and has a climate suitable for growing a variety of crops. Meanwhile, about 600 million hectares of land remain uncultivated on the African continent.
Despite the lack of industry players, the regional market in Africa is large. More than half of the land in sub-Saharan Africa is used by farmers who cultivate small plots. Usually, they grow food or cash crops on these lands.
More than 170 million people work on farms. Despite the advantages of the landscape, turning it into economic development requires effort and transformation. The difficulty comes from several aspects. First, land acquisition and property rights are difficult. The second major problem is poor infrastructure. Bad roads and power problems make farming unprofitable and uncompetitive.
The first priority of agricultural transformation is modernization, which aims to help increase farm profitability and employment by making the industry attractive to young people. Modernization will provide opportunities to develop agricultural value chains in Africa, thereby creating jobs. Of course, the modernization of any industry is inseparable from the introduction of technology. Geospatial data analysis in agriculture is one of the leading technologies transforming agriculture today, offering farmers more opportunities.
EOS Data Analysis: Agricultural Satellite Data Analysis
Founded in 2015 by Max Polyakov, EOS Data Analytics provides geospatial data analysis for various industries including agriculture and forestry. The company’s AI-driven solution enables users to remotely monitor and control the condition of plants and soil in the field, gathering all the necessary information.
EOSDA Crop Monitoring is a precision agriculture platform that provides field satellite monitoring. The solution provides data on vegetation status, soil moisture, harvest, weather conditions, crop rotations, and more. With this data, farmers can plan field activities, take timely measures to protect crops, allocate resources and find practical solutions to increase productivity. In 2021, the company also launched
EOSDA forest monitoring solution for precision forest management, a satellite-based forest monitoring tool. The platform can be used by foresters, owners, researchers and logging companies interested in remotely monitoring forest health risks, identifying illegal logging and reducing negative environmental impacts.
Another solution that handles satellite imagery and geospatial data analysis is EOSDA LandViewer. It is a GIS assistant that helps users quickly find, visualize, and manipulate data. The platform provides access to more than a dozen indexes that can be used to extract valuable information from satellite imagery.
How will products and services help subsistence and low-income farmers in Africa?
Digital technologies are dramatically transforming agriculture, bringing unprecedented changes to humanity. With the help of digital farming, growers can increase food production while reducing the amount of resources used. The goal of EOSDA crop monitoring is precisely to provide farmers with the tools to make effective decisions and increase the productivity of their fields.
Digitalization of African agriculture is facilitated by connecting regional traders and other stakeholders. By connecting with investment funds across the continent, EOSDA partners can help farmers adopt technology and benefit from geospatial data predictive analytics and other innovations to improve agricultural land productivity.
In addition, technological solutions can help increase market transparency and help reduce the digital divide between farmers large and small.
Social Case: Chad Indigenous Community Mapping Project
Farming communities need to adapt to the challenges associated with scarcity of fresh water, fertile land and other resources. This social case is an example of how communities can work together to overcome the difficulties posed by climate change.
The Chad project aims to alleviate conflicts between local and indigenous communities over limited natural resources. It also aims to help communities adapt to climate change. Communities in Chad and other developing countries rely primarily on livestock and subsistence agriculture. It enables them to provide food for their families.
However, certain risks make these communities vulnerable. Extreme weather events associated with climate change have negatively impacted agriculture in the region. They lead to a decline or loss of natural resource quality. Due to this fact, the food security of the population is threatened. Climate change presents ongoing challenges, limiting access to resources and reducing overall well-being.
EOS Data Analytics contributed to the participatory mapping project in Chad.Video: EOS Data
Analytical communities cannot have a significant impact on policymakers in countries responsible for monitoring the impact of human activities on the environment and living standards. However, communities can assess the rationale for using resources to ensure future generations will be able to use them.
Oumarou Ibrahim, Mbororo pastoralist member, founder and head of the Association of Indian Indigenous Women and Peoples in Chad, organized a collaborative mapping project with EOS Data Analytics. It is also an example of collaboration between communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change and mitigate conflicts caused by the scarcity of natural resources such as fresh water and fertile land.
The company used EOSDA LandViewer to obtain satellite imagery of the area of interest. Printed map layouts with annotated natural and artificial features are then created for residents to map on their own. Leaders of more than 100 communities from different villages have agreed to make sustainable use of existing resources, which will be carried out as part of a joint mapping project.
The community, with the support of technology companies and managing NGOs, collaborates to create maps based on their needs. This initiative contributes to the peaceful and sustainable management of the resources available to the community. The project helps locals maintain their traditional way of life and adapt to the changing climate.
“Precisely, the brightness and spectral properties of objects must be considered. For example, different levels of vegetation can be classified according to the value of the vegetation index (normalized difference vegetation index, leaf area index and other types of spectral indices)”, EOS Andriy Kuzmenko, GIS Analyst at Data Analytics
Coming soon: Agriculture-focused satellite constellation EOS SAT
The company’s plans include further opportunities for precision agriculture through the EOS SAT project. By 2025, the company will launch seven optical satellites with 13-band channels into low-Earth orbit. This is the first project of its kind among a company using remote sensing technology, as it will focus on agriculture. The EOS SAT constellation will enable EOSDA to provide a full cycle of satellite data collection and processing.
The EOS SAT satellite constellation will help address key global issues affecting agricultural productivity, including climate change and soil degradation. Farmers need increased productivity to feed a growing population. However, in order to prevent crop losses and ensure food security under current conditions, sustainable practices that do not exacerbate environmental problems are necessary.
EOSDA will be able to provide more reliable data and analytics to help farmers safely increase field productivity. The first satellite of the EOS SAT constellation will enter orbit in 2022. Next, the company plans to launch three more satellites in 2023. Then, during 2024-2025, three more satellites will be launched to achieve overall operational capability.
The deployment of remote sensing, analytics and digital farming solutions helps farmers increase productivity by making informed, data-driven decisions. In addition, adopting technology can help improve sustainability and reduce environmental impact.
EOS Data Analytics provides farmers and other agribusiness stakeholders with an end-to-end solution that provides them with a wide range of data. The company’s products provide the agricultural sector with tools to help conserve resources, improve management, increase productivity and ensure food security, which are in line with the needs of African communities.