FG To Advance Satellite-Based Crop Monitoring In Nigeria

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FMIST CompactCrop
The representative of the Ekiti State governor, Mr. Seun Fakuade (third from left) and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji flanked by other ministry officials and dignitaries during the signing ceremony in Abuja.

The Federal Government is set to advance satellite-based monitoring to increase resilience in the face of global food security challenges.

The Minister, Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology (FMIST), Chief Uche Nnaji disclosed this during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ministry and the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR/CAS) in Abuja.

He emphasised the nation’s mandate to ensure food security and liberate Nigerians from poverty and hunger using the latest technology through the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

He said, “Under my leadership, the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology is focused on using the latest technologies to achieve this goal. The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), established 25 years ago, aims to achieve this through space science and innovations.

“Currently, food insecurity is a major issue in West Africa, including Nigeria. Increasing agricultural productivity through space technology is essential to meet growing food demands. The CropWatch programme provides a platform for adapting to climate change challenges in agriculture. Agricultural production and food systems need profound transformation through technologies like Earth Observation (EO) techniques.”

The CropWatch programme will foster rapid developments in artificial intelligence, robotics and nano-satellites. New approaches for monitoring and increasing agricultural productivity will include regenerative and sustainable agriculture and carbon dioxide reduction (CDR) methods.

He added that the Nigeria CropWatch monitoring system will be strengthened to cater to small-farm holders. This workshop is crucial for exploring new methods and data. Participants from other countries are expected to gain skills to establish and implement CropWatch training in their respective countries.

The director-general of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR/CAS), WU Yirong assured support for Nigeria to monitor agricultural activities in the country.

He stressed that AIR/CAS will use technology to contribute and monitor the earth to ensure it is safe.

The acting director of the strategic space application department of NASRDA, Dr. Rakiya Babamaaji highlighted that CropWatch will help Nigeria monitor agricultural production such as maize, soybeans, rice, and others to improve productivity in the country.

NASRDA has the mandate to solve socio-economic development issues for the betterment of the Nigerian people.

“Where we can help is to use our satellite to monitor farmland, cropland, and irrigation activities to ensure maximum protection when it comes to food security,” she said.

To help farmers, NASRDA can access information from the local level to the state level and the national level.

She revealed that the agency is training extension workers and small-scale farmers, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, to educate them on how to use the information produced. 

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