Members of the NASA Harvest Consortium traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to meet with agricultural stakeholders in the public and private sectors from across the Americas. Hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) together with AMA (Agricultural Monitoring in the Americas), the workshop—organized back to back with the Digital Agriculture Week— focused on the use of remote sensing technology in national agricultural statistics and extreme weather event detection.
During the week, Estefania Puricelli (Harvest Markets & Trade Co-Lead and AMA lead), Mike Humber (Data and Harvest Portal Lead), and Antonio Sanchez (Harvest Engineer and AMA co-lead) presented on Harvest activities using satellite data for improved agricultural assessments, including our work monitoring agricultural production throughout Central and South America. One of the main goals of the workshop was to encourage increased cooperation and community building, specifically putting Latin American data users in collaboration with data producers around the world in order to increase their use of Earth observation products.
Many countries in the Americas are major agricultural producers, with wheat, soybean, and maize being major commodity crops grown throughout the two continents. Given the region’s importance to global agricultural markets, it is critical to assess the conditions of these crops throughout their growing seasons. NASA Harvest assists in these efforts through its contributions to GEOGLAM, a G20 Initiative established in 2011 to increase market transparency and improve food security by producing and disseminating relevant, timely, and actionable information on agricultural conditions and outlooks of production at national, regional, and global scales.
During the meeting, attendees were surveyed on how Earth Observation (EO) products are currently or could be utilized within their country in their work as well as some of the hurdles that need to be overcome to encourage EO product uptake.
“One of the takeaways from our discussions during Digital Agriculture Week was that many of the attendees needed specific training on some of the various EO platforms that were discussed as well as improved accessibility of those tools,” said Puricelli. “Having these discussions with stakeholders and end users is extremely useful for understanding the differences between countries related to the use of this technology. It also informs the best way for us to move forward with capacity building and product uptake”.