The University of Maryland (UMD) NASA Harvest Team continues to strengthen agricultural monitoring for food security in East Africa. Main local partners and beneficiaries in the region are the Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture National Food Security Division (NFSD), the Uganda Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Kenya State Department of Agriculture (SDA) and the IGAD Climate Prediction & Applications Centre (ICPAC). ICPAC coordinates the seasonal GHACOF (Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum), which CGAMR supports through capacity building, data provision, analysis tools and reporting.
With NASA SERVIR support, Harvest’s Dr. Dempewolf traveled to Dar Es Salaam and Dodoma, Tanzania during early February 2018 to meet with old and new partners, discuss their needs, project status and next steps. The NFSD team including the Director Mr. Kiranga, expressed their gratitude for UMD’s work so far and strongly support the further development of the Crop Monitor portal and the government’s official National Food Security Bulletin. Discussions of expansion of the electronic field data collection network for agricultural information were also held. Field data collection is ongoing at selected locations in the Morogoro and Iringa regions through a network of over 100 agricultural extension agents. In Dodoma Dr. Dempewolf had further discussions with Mrs. Simkanga, Director of Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture, who is lending her support for this work. A capacity/data collection workshop for NFSD and partners will be held in the coming months with NASA SERVIR support.
Part of the mission involved making linkages with an on-going USDA funded project at the Tanzania Meteorological Department (TMA) supported by FAO. EOFSAC under the leadership of Dr. Catherine Nakalembe will conduct a user needs scoping study that offers potential linkages for further collaborations and partners. Jan Dempewolf also met with Dr. Kalista Higini Peters, head of the Geography Department at the University of Dodoma (UDOM). UDOM expressed interest in capacity building and partnering to support NFSD.