Lutheran World Relief is working with NASA Harvest in Mali to gather valuable on-the-ground information about crop conditions so that relevant government agencies can better interpret satellite imagery and advise farmers about potential challenges. The Relief to Resilience in the Sahel (R2R) project will help more than 8,200 farming families in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger recover from devastating food crises and better prepare for future challenges.
The more information that farmers and governments have about conditions on Earth, the better. Satellite imagery allows governments and decision makers to view and monitor crop conditions across large swaths of land. This information can help farmers prepare for and react to weather disasters — like droughts and floods — and, ultimately, improve production and profitability. Governments can also help predict an entire region's agricultural output, including anticipating crop shortages, critical information for mitigating the effects of food shortages and avoiding famine.
Lutheran World Relief’s expertise allows agriculture extension agents collect real time information about land and crop conditions. The agents collect that data through dedicated apps on smart phones and tablets and send it to government ministries. This on-the-ground information-gathering helps create the key that local ministries, who receive training from the NASA Harvest team, who use it to make important decisions about crop management and share that information with local farmers.
The university of Maryland is working to strengthen early warning system in Mali by increasing the capacity of government agencies in Mali to monitor crop conditions using Earth Observation (EO) data and systems. This project launched in Mali in April 2019. This latest work deepens Lutheran World Relief’s relationship with the University of Maryland and its work with NASA satellite imagery. LWR began working with the University in 2016 in Tanzania and Uganda.
The R2R project is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation