Countries of the Americas strengthen capacities for the use of technological tools to improve agricultural statistics and climate impact monitoring

As part of Digital Agriculture Week 2023, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and NASA Harvest, NASA’s Agriculture and Food Security Program, held a joint technical workshop to improve national agricultural estimates and the monitoring of extreme weather impacts on agriculture in this region.

More than a hundred officials involved in the generation of agricultural statistics from more than 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have enhanced their skills in the use of digital tools – especially remote sensing – through this initiative, led by researchers from the University of Maryland.

At the meeting, entitled “The use of digital tools in national agricultural statistics and in monitoring the impact of extreme weather events,” NASA Harvest specialists presented the main free-access tools available to countries in the region, namely: the Global Agriculture Monitoring System, the AGMET Tool, CROP Monitor and the Global Crop Monitor.

These platforms provide information on crop conditions, development and health, areas under cultivation, and agro-climatic status and conditions that may affect production in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. Their purpose is to improve actions and policies targeting agriculture, human intervention and food security, among others.

“A wide variety of options exists, there are many satellites and sensors with different resolutions and great potential for addressing agricultural and climate change issues,” pointed out Estefania Puricelli, agricultural economist and Co-lead of Markets and Trade at the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences.

“Creating opportunities like these to share knowledge is extremely important, the use of these tools in the different countries is very heterogeneous and a lot of cooperation among them is possible. Countries that have made more progress can collaborate with those that are just starting out or have reached an intermediate stage in the process, because the regions are similar, as are their limitations. We try to listen to their needs in order to be able to work from there,” Puricelli added.

The workshop also focused on the strategic importance of estimates for national economies and finances, the design of policies, and global food security.

In addition to the workshop, IICA, NASA Harvest and FAO will be preparing a report analyzing the current use of remote-sensing tools for agricultural estimates in the countries of the region. The aim will be to provide reference information on the situation and experiences in this area for policymakers and international organizations, among others.

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Source: IICA

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