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Home / Project / Remote Sensing as a Monitoring Tool for Smallholder’s Cropping Area Determination in Tanzania and Uganda Using Sweetpotato as a Pilot Crop

Remote Sensing as a Monitoring Tool for Smallholder’s Cropping Area Determination in Tanzania and Uganda Using Sweetpotato as a Pilot Crop

Project Ongoing
UAV-ARSIS Community of Practice workshop

The most common conventional source of data for crop statistics is Agriculture Sample Census carried out at regular intervals (for example, every five years in Tanzania). However, this method is costly and the information is not frequently updated. It also relies on farmers’ recollection of the crops they grew and their yields, which is often inaccurate. Many smallholder farmers, especially in developing countries, do not keep proper records of their farming activities.

Using sweetpotato as a pilot crop, CIP is leading efforts to develop cost-effective methods that utilize UAV as a platform to collect accurate and timely data for agricultural statistics. Beyond the platforms, we also develop low-cost and high quality sensors for specific agricultural applications, as well as the software required to process and analyze the acquired data.

The current phase of the project is being implemented in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, with sweet potato as a pilot crop. With the partnerships and collaborations we are building, we plan to outscale the project to include other crops and cover wider regions.

Dr. Roberto Quiroz, International Potato Center (CIP), P.O. Box 1558, Lima, Peru,

e-mail: r.quiroz@cgiar.org,  Tel. +511 3175304/3175312

Key Project Information

The potential of satellite remote sensing in gathering accurate crop statistics data has been demonstrated, but associated costs are prohibitively expensive and the data is often affected by clouds. The project seeks to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • Obtain a baseline of crop reflectance at different phenological stages;
  • Develop, test and ground-truth products generated by a remote sensing platform for surveying crops in sampling areas;
  • Adapt algorithms and software for the data fusion combining very high resolution data with data from coarse resolution satellite images;
  • Validate the technology by comparing results with information provided by the sampling framework used by the National Agricultural Bureaus in Tanzania and Uganda and ground-truthing;
  • Elaborate an upscaling plan, impact pathway, and theory of change for this innovation

We started assembling the UAV in Nairobi in January 2015. Special cameras are attached to the UAV, which a pilot remotely flies over farmers’ fields to take images. Different crops reflect light in unique ways, and the optical characteristics of the crops are recorded by the camera. An analysis of these optical characteristics allows scientists to identify the crops in the images Using sweetpotato as a pilot crop, CIP is leading efforts to develop cost-effective methods that utilize UAV as a platform to collect accurate and timely data for agricultural statistics. Beyond the platforms, we also develop low-cost and high quality sensors for specific agricultural applications, as well as the software required to process and analyze the acquired data.

Start date August 14, 2020
End date August 14, 2020
Lead organization International Potato Center (CIP)
Collaborating organizations University of Missouri; World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); University of Nairobi, Kenya; Civil Aviation Authority; Agricultural Research Institute (ARI – Ukiriguru); Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS); National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) – Uganda; Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA); Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Kenya, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) etc.
Region East Africa
Countries Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda
Type of project Research
Financing Sources Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Funding Amount (USD) $990,235
Members Dieudonné Harahagazwe, Elijah Cheruiyot, JOSE MARIO CARDENAS, Walter Omony

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