Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change from the Ground Up
Farmers currently receive weather forecast information via the radio and other traditional methods. However, the current weather unpredictability is posing a major challenge to farmers, who struggle to adapt to changing weather conditions. DFMS provides local predictions with parish level detail, ensuring more specific and relevant data. Earth observation data, supplied by the Copernicus satellite fleet, will provide more reliable insights into the quality of soil moisture, land surface temperature and land cover.
Along with the higher resolution and reliable data from satellite images, streamflow data calibrated through a hydrological model, the DFMS will give farmers information on minute changes on river flows providing a sophisticated early warning system for drought and flood. These datasets will be cross-verified with a popular tool, used by such organisations as the World Food Programme, known as pictorial evaluation (PET for short), which will provide in-situ data on the state of crops and livestock. Together with real-time and historical meteorological data, they will form a robust model for the early warning platform.
“In the coming year the consortium will be carefully monitoring the impact of improved forecasting in live farms across the northern regions of Uganda, so business who want to apply the services nationally can be assured of the benefits of the platform,” added Healy.
Uganda has high outputs of sugar and coffee, but locally some of the big market players include Ugandan national breweries and agro-consortiums (which represent small-holder farmers in cash crops and joint ventures in the country). DFMS has wide-ranging application in many business models besides agriculture.
“We have recently also explored the application of Earth Observation data for improved planning in a crisis, for planning urban settlements and where there might be synergies with existing early warning systems will be able to apply DFMS services internally,” said Healy.