Harvest2Market is NASA Harvest’s openly available online tool for analysis of crop conditions, market, and supply chain logistics. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need to make the connections between crop production prospects (as afforded by remote sensing) to disruptions across the complex food supply chains and ultimately to food availability to people across the globe. Synthesis of global and timely multi-source information relevant to agricultural supply chains is more important than ever. This novel interdisciplinary research initiative addresses a major disconnect in linking satellite-based estimates of global crop production to how global food supply flows and becomes available across the World including the most vulnerable countries to food insecurity.
The NASA Harvest applied research project team is developing a geospatial food supply information system that will enable us to examine the impact of supply chain disruptions on global grain production, trade and the coinciding impacts on Food Security. This project is developed through an interdisciplinary collaboration with the leading policy, economics and agricultural markets organizations. The intention is to develop a system that will bring together for the first time, multiple datasets related to food supply chains, including remotely sensed based information on crop development and forecasts, that would enable the analysis of trends and shocks to food supplies.
As the pandemic continues, extreme weather events become more frequent, and conflicts escalate, the imposition of trade restrictions (export quotas) from producer countries to protect their national interests, the closure of borders, the inability of ports or airports to handle exports and imports, and the capacity of the rail, waterways and road transportation networks to distribute food, are becoming major concerns. Under such circumstances, substantive increases in food prices are expected and the impacts will be greatest in those countries least able to mitigate such problems, and will impact donors' ability to provide timely food aid where needed. Those countries heavily dependent on imports are at risk, including a number of developing countries with a history of food insecurity. As we saw in 2008 and 2010, an increase in food prices can also lead to social unrest and food riots in countries with poor governance.
Additionally, the uncertainty will vary by crop and by region according to the level of agricultural technology used by farmers, the surrounding logical infrastructure, macroeconomic conditions and changes in national policies. Since the late 1970’s NASA has been working towards monitoring crop conditions and production over large regions. In the past, the research goal has been to develop robust forecasts of agricultural production within the growing season, however, in recent years the research agenda has broadened. Improved multi-satellite coverage and use, sensor spatial resolution, and high-performance cloud computing are enabling improved monitoring (planted area, time of harvest), as well as improved forecasting of crop production, during the growing season.
NASA Harvest has now released a Beta version of Harvest2Market, an online and freely accessible dashboard where users can evaluate current crop conditions, import and export statistics, and explore market prices and trade indices.
While initially planned for development over a 3-year period, the Beta version of Harvest2Market has been released in direct response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As this conflict raises major food security concerns and is disrupting global markets, the goal of Harvest2Market is to make data accessible to end users and provide context for decision-makers especially as the world navigates the ongoing crisis. Additional features and datasets, improved usability, and fine-tuning of the layout will occur in future dashboard iterations.