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Applications of Earth Observations for Food Security and Agriculture for USAID's Feed the Future Initiative

Applications of Earth Observations for Food Security and Agriculture for USAID's Feed the Future Initiative

This article originally appeared on the Feed the Future blog Agrilinks, on behalf of the USAID Steering Committee on Earth Observations for Food Security and Agriculture (James Verdin, Food for Peace, Chair, Gary Eilerts, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, Jami Montgomery, Center for Resilience, and Kiersten Johnson, Bureau for Food Security). Follow Agrilinks this month to read more about how USAID partner organizations, including many NASA Harvest partners, are using EO data and applications to monitor and improve food security.

Feed the Future -- the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security initiative -- takes an integrated approach to combating the root causes of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. This integrated approach is reflected in Feed the Future’s results framework, which brings together its three main objectives of (1) inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth, (2) strengthened resilience among people and systems, and (3) a well-nourished population, especially among women and children.

Various types of evidence are needed to inform the design and implementation of Feed the Future programs and activities, and effective monitoring and evaluation of its work also requires robust qualitative and quantitative evidence. With increasing launches of Earth-observing satellites, data policies allowing broader access to moderate and high-resolution Earth Observation (EO) data, and rapid advances in cloud and high-performance computing, EO data are increasingly seen as essential inputs to support Feed the Future’s work throughout the program cycle, from design to implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and adaptive decision making.

The objective of this month’s Agrilinks Monthly Theme on Earth Observations for Food Security and Agriculture is to showcase how USAID and its partners are using EO data and applications in ways that directly correspond to Feed the Future’s strategic approach and results framework, and to do so in an accessible way. This approach provides an opportunity to open doors for a wider engagement with these data by the entire range of decision makers, from farmers in their plots, to researchers in universities, to decisionmakers in governments and multilateral institutions. NASA Harvest's work on Earth observations for food security and agriculture aligns with this goal of engagement across the spectrum of decision makers, and indeed many of the contributions to this month's series are provided by NASA Harvest partners. 

This month's emphasis provides a new space for researchers who work with EO data to engage in mutually beneficial dialogues with people whose work in food security and agriculture could benefit from the insights derived from these data. Reach out to USAID Steering Committee on Earth Observations for Food Security and Agriculture or NASA Harvest leadership to share your thoughts on how Earth observations data can be used in your work, and any challenges along the way. 

News Date
May 3, 2019