Major projects

Developing increased EO capacity for better agriculture and forestry management in Africa


Project location Africa
Starting date 01 October 2011
Completion date 30 June 2015
Client European Commission – FP7-ENV
Partners Consortium led by VITO
Project leader Dr. B.H.P. (Ben) Maathuis
Project officer Bert Boer
Project type Contract education
Budget Euro 350,128

The challenge

Good management requires good information, and science plays a key role in understanding the dynamics of agricultural and forest resources. Agriculture in Africa is diverse and ranges from subsistence to large commercial farming. Remote sensing provides recurrent information on natural resources in various timescales and periods. The key challenge is to enhance scientific and remote sensing capacity in Africa to enable African institutes to independently monitor and generate information on agricultural and forest resources to adequately support management and policy actions.

Project objectives

AGRICAB aims to develop a framework for enhancing earth observation capacity to support agriculture and forestry management in Africa. It aims at improving and sustaining capacity for data access, agro-meteorological modelling, early warning, agricultural statistics, livestock monitoring and forest mapping. These components are developed through specific case studies in Senegal, Kenya, Tunisia, Mozambique, South Africa and Niger leading to dedicated training actions capitalizing on the findings.


AGRICAB builds on GEONetCast, connecting satellite data and predictive models in the context of geo (group on earth observations). The project addresses three main topics:

  • sustained data access, linking satellite data providers with GEONetCast and providing the necessary tools to access the data
  • enhancing observations through predictive modelling
  • expose, discover, experience activities to allow a large community to learn and implement

The project is based upon interconnected activities acting as a ‘flywheel’ to enhance capacity across a wide range of stakeholders. The dedicated use cases in various African countries are designed to address policy issues related to livestock, crop systems and forest management.

Expected results

In a geo context, actions are taken to contribute to food security in Africa by enhancing the current global capabilities through increased use of earth observation data. The project will result in a substantial uptake of earth observation techniques, information and products by an increasingly large community of managers and decision makers in Africa. Through AGRICAB, “twinning partnerships” will be developed between European and African partners, to maximize knowledge transfer and integration.

Experiences learned will result in regional

Trainings to the member states of the Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS) in Tunisia, the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Kenya and the AGRHYMET Regional Centre in Niger, covering a large part of Africa. These activities will be linked with Africa wide management and research initiatives and programmes on forest and agriculture.

More information:

First setup of a GEONetCast antenna in Tsavo National Park, Kenya
First setup of a GEONetCast antenna in Tsavo National Park, Kenya.

Participants of training in Kenya, June 2012.
Participants of training in Kenya, June 2012.
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