Government to Start Monitoring Drought From Space

  • The Kenya Space Agency (KSA) has announced a planned agreement with Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellite, and the Group on Earth Observations to start monitoring drought from space. 

    The above-listed entities will join forces to transmit and translate satellite imagery into forecasts of growing conditions that could be used to significantly stabilize food production on Kenya’s farms, which has faltered after two years of unreliable rains. 

    Kenya's groundbreaking Africa Regional Data Cube that was launched into space in May 2018 gathers crucial data. 

    “Uncertainty is the enemy of agriculture and with the Africa Regional Data Cube we can take advantage of powerful new space technologies to provide better predictions regarding the crop choices and planting decisions most likely to produce a good harvest,” noted Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, whose ministry the KSA falls under. 

    “Droughts are fact of life in Kenya, but we’re optimistic that new innovations in data gathering and analysis can provide a level of predictability that will empower Kenya’s farmer to be more productive and resilient, even as climate change adds new challenges,” she added. 

    Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Africa Regional Director, Davis Adieno, noted that the ability to scan almost two decades' worth of changes in Kenya’s lands will allow a whole new level of agriculture forecasting that will be used to train farmers. 

    The partnership will also offer a more powerful type of risk assessment that can be critical in securing affordable credit and crop
    insurance. 

    In the last week, media houses reported that drought had struck Baringo and Turkana Counties, causing famine in the affected areas. 

    The government, however, downplayed the allegations, insisting that the situation was under control. 

    Food supplies have been dispatched to the regions by both government and well-wishers to mitigate the effects of drought.