Workshop Space4Agri: satellite observations for agriculture monitoring

28 July, 2015
Thematic areas: 


Coordinators: Pietro Alessandro Brivio & Mirco Boschetti
Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA)


The agricultural sector has more and more to face important challenges due to continuous increase in the world population, resulting in pressure of food demand especially in developing countries, the need to reduce environmental impacts in industrialized countries and the augmented competition due to globalization of markets and price volatility (G20 Agriculture Action Plan, 2011). Not to mention that agriculture plays a vital role in the management of land and has a great responsibility in the preservation of natural resources, certainly the most important challenge is that of food security in a sustainable way for a population that will reach 9.6 billion in 2050.

The G20 Ministers of Agriculture met in Paris in June 2011 and, in order to improve information and transparency of international markets for agricultural commodities, promoted two international initiatives: AMIS - Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) at FAO in Rome, and GEO-Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) at GEO in Geneva, fostering the use of Earth Observations satellite technology for agricultural monitoring.

More recently, 13 Euro-Mediterranean Countries launched in February 2014 the MED-AMIN initiative (Agricultural market information system) implemented by CIHEAM and focused on the cereal market of the Mediterranean zone, which includes some of the main producers and importers of soft and durum wheat.


GEOGLAM meets in Milan

In the framework of scientific events related to the themes "Feeding the Planet, Energy for life" of EXPO 2015, the CNR hosts at CNR-Area della Ricerca premises in Milan a GEOGLAM meeting. International experts responsible for monitoring agriculture (at national, regional and global scales), including from ministries of agriculture, space agencies, international organizations in support of agricultural development and the scientific community will present the initiatives in progress and discuss future developments both strategic and technological for better use of technologies of Earth Observation satellites in support of international policies for food security.

The day will include a morning meeting restricted to the members of GEOGLAM and an open session in the afternoon to inform about the activities that are conducted at the international level on the mandate of the G20 Ministers of Agriculture.

The afternoon event will be dedicated to present an overview of the GEOGLAM initiative with contributions from representatives from GEOGLAM components and project leads. A second objective of the event is the presentation of the GEOGLAM "Crop Monitor" component with a survey of outcomes, progress and short term and long term priorities. GEOGLAM "Crop Monitor" is the operational service developed to share and analyze information from a variety of independent sources and complementary (satellite observations, agro-meteorological data and analysis from cropping patterns and field reports) in order to allow the group of experts (over 30 agencies) to reach a consensus and draw up a report on the condition of crops worldwide to support the activities of AMIS for market transparency and policy coordination.

CNR-IREA is contributing to the development of methodologies for creating downstream services dedicated to monitoring regional and local agricultural production with its projects Space4Agri (AQ Regione Lombardia-CNR), Scenarice (Agropolis / Cariplo) and ERMES (EU FP7-SPACE).


GEOGLAM Crop Monitor for AMIS

The Group on Earth Observations (a partnership of governments and international organizations) developed the Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) initiative in response to the growing calls for improved agricultural information. The goal of GEOGLAM is to strengthen the international community’s capacity to produce and disseminate relevant, timely and accurate forecasts of agricultural production at national, regional and global scales through the use of Earth Observations (EO), which include satellite and ground-based observations. This initiative is designed to build on existing agricultural monitoring programs and initiatives at national, regional and global levels and to enhance and strengthen them through international networking, operationally focused research, and data/method sharing.

In this context, GEOGLAM has developed the service Crop Monitor report, which provides a global assessment of the condition of crops, to support the activities of AMIS market monitoring. The objective of the Crop Monitor is to provide AMIS with an international and transparent multi-source, consensus assessment of crop growing conditions, status, and agro-climatic conditions, likely to impact global production. This activity covers the four main commodities covered by AMIS (wheat, maize, rice, and soy) on the G20 + 7 AMIS Countries representing more than 85% of the global market. These assessments have been produced operationally since September 2013 and are published in the monthly AMIS Market Monitor Bulletin. The Crop Monitor reports provide a cartographic and synthesis overview of crop conditions at the end of each month providing a general outlook on the balance-sheets of future marketing year.