African experts meet in Kenya over use of satellite to spur food security-Xinhua

African experts meet in Kenya over use of satellite to spur food security

Source: Xinhua| 2023-08-09 01:04:30|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Africa's experts on Tuesday began a three-day meeting in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to discuss the use of satellite communication to help boost the continent's food security.

The seventh Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) international conference brought together more than 1,000 participants, including senior government officials and scientists from 20 African countries as well as officials from the African Union and United Nations to review ways to use Earth observation platforms to strengthen the region's agricultural sectors.

In his opening remarks, Mahaman Bachir Saley, senior scientific officer at the African Union Commission, said that images captured by satellite can help governments in the continent to monitor food crops in the field.

"Real-time monitoring can help countries to plan by having the ability to predict harvests by farmers," he added.

Husna Mbarak, team leader for governance and natural resources at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Kenya office, said that Africa can register gains in the agriculture sector by monitoring agricultural fields with the aid of satellites.

Mbarak noted that satellite images can also be used to detect and respond to crop pests and diseases.

Judith Nabakooba, Uganda's minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, said that the continent is keen to harness the latest space science to achieve food security. Nabakooba noted that Africa is a net importer of food despite having large tracts of arable land and as well as a youthful labor force that can cultivate crops.

Collins Marangu, director of plant protection and food safety directorate in Kenya's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, said that Earth observation products such as satellites can help Africa to better forecast weather patterns to guide farmers to improve their crop production.

Marangu added that satellite imagery can also be used to efficiently monitor soil health to reduce the need for the application of pesticides.