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How Does Satellite Data Save Food Crisis?

How Does Satellite Data Save Food Crisis?

The first satellite was sent off to loiter in the orbit in 1957, but when you fast forward half a century, satellites are now widely used to facilitate many industrial, social and cultural needs around the world. Data collected from outer space is accumulated from 2500+ satellites orbited around the globe at a speed of 18,000 miles per hour- which means they cover the circumference of the earth 14 times each day. Many data specialists and space experts are putting this enormous amount of data into good use. Satellite-based data innovatively capture natural phenomena and many humanitarian sectors, world economic events, environmental impacts, entertainment and more. The use of satellite data to promote entertainment and security and defence at a city-level to a national or global level is a well-known fact by many; but, did you know that satellite data can be a solution to end the Food Crisis?

Today, Cerexio investigates the impact of capitalising on satellite data to feed the expanding population and meet the insatiable demand for food resources around the world. In brief, food insecurity has led to the suffering of millions of people around the world, but the healthy and tactful usage of EO (Earth Observation) data can reduce the number of people facing a food crisis and provide enough insights to mitigate the shortage of food.

Impacts of Food Insecurity and Food Crises

Food insecurity and food crisis (also known as ‘food instability’ or ‘chronic hunger’) is a result of many detrimental factors (population explosion, inaction of healthy strategies, food production, crop failure, suboptimal governmental decisions and more)that leads to a large-scale scarcity of food to nourish a society. Food crises can occur on any scale- local, societal, national or global, and once it emerges, the commitment to promptly eradicate hunger is very critical.

Food insecurity and instability can lead to the malnutritions that fatally threaten livelihoods, exhaust the savings of massive amounts of people, and mismanagement of livestock upkeep, crops and medicine. There are 5 phases of food insecurity, starting from the nutritionally gratified communities to communities that are fatally malnutrition. Namely, these phases are: Stable, Stressed, Crisis, Emergency, Famine (or Catastrophe). Acute malnutrition leads to communities making desperate decisions like selling essentials to bring food to the table, or migrating and working under merciless suppression, or even selling their own children- which leads to people questioning the ethicality behind their decisions. However, the worst-case scenarios lead to malnutrition-related illnesses, destitutions, starvation and death.

Some of the countries that faced the peak of the food crisis in 2020 are Congo, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Haiti.

Why is Satellite Data Unmissable?

HLPE (The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition)- the interface of the CFS (UN committee researching on World Food Security) elaborates the recent impacts that led to the rapid rise of hunger and malnutrition at a global scale. One of their researches illustrated how the dynamics rooted after the advent of COVID-19 led to rising threats for nutrition and security of food resources. The illustration below was shared in this report to address how the 2020 socio-economic realities were not only suffering from the epidemic but also a malnutrition and hunger pandemic.

It explains:
  • political decisions,
  • economic recession,
  • augmented food environments,
  • societal inequities,
  • efficient social protection strategies, and
  • the increase of localised food prices,

    are a few reasons for this detrimental situation. However, one of the most impactful threats is ineffective changes in production. It explains how horticultural production would meet production shocks due to the shortage of labour and inability to determine the production supply requirements accurately- like transportation of seeds, amounts of seeds, fertiliser quantities and more. This is where the need for Satellite Data is unmissable.

How Does It Work?

Satellite data has enabled a range of large-scale visibility for agriculture experts around the world to compare and contrast the levels of production against food demands and more. Remotely-sensed information gave early detection of stressors that affect the food supply and production. It captures the healthiness of crop covers represented by NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index), investigates drought conditions, measures levels of evapotranspiration and precipitation, determines crop health risks and gives enough insight into strategic policies and conditions to doge food-related detrimental like food instability, food insecurity and famine. Satellites can monitor and analyse land use, unhealthy conditions of vegetation, rainfall levels, soil moisture, disaster frequencies and more.

Satellite data, when combined with AI and ML models, offer permanent solutions to the most pressing issues in the global food crisis. It didn’t take long for most agricultural specialists and national decision-makers to understand that the satellite is the ultimate risk mitigation, visualisation, and analytical tool to ensure healthy and reassured food production. EO data offers real-time web-based tools that can be used by people to access satellite and ground data to make robust, efficient and real-time agricultural decisions despite the changing weather conditions, environmental impacts and spontaneous changes in the food demands across the globe.

Satellite Data can also work in collaboration with other technologies like IIoT-driven Drone (UAV) Systems, GIS Layers, Predictive Analytics, Prescriptive Analytics, Digital Twin and Simulation and a range of other new-age technologies to offer immersive and interactive experiences to understand the actualities of food production. With such futuristic collaborations, satellite data can offer hyper-local evaluations, predict impending crop health and threats, understand future location-sensitive weather and growth changes before they materialise, get comprehensive evaluations of biomasses in farming areas and more.

Benefits of Using Satellite Data in Food Production?

Satellite Technology ensures that the altered food environments and changes in production are done by fact-based insights that are enabled by EO data, which monitors and estimates food production by leveraging remote sensing technologies to manage a crisis before it even occurs. Here are some instances where Satellite Data is deemed to be most beneficial and efficient in the food production sector.

  • Analyse the quality of soil fertility, moisture and chemical composition
  • Become the ‘Eyes on The Sky’ to manage and control the water supply of agricultural land
  • Help developing countries meet SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), which facilitates dodging food crisis
  • Map and offer interactive investigation power of irrigated land in real-time
  • Offer data to make simulations and interactive timelines to visualise the growing season progress of mass crops
  • Optimally guide fertiliser application roadmaps to ensure all crops (even the hard-to-reach crop patches) are not affected by diseases or pests
  • Predict crop yield and measure it against the demand for food to understand the food security rates of a country
  • Predicting weather changes and other natural phenomena like landslides, droughts, bushfires and other hazards that impact crops
  • Space-based crop health monitoring lenses to ensure the sustenance, healthiness and resilience of crops throughout the food production lifecycle

Is Cerexio A Part of This Mission?

Cerexio offers a range of new-age technologies empowered by satellites to ensure that the agricultural operations and leveraging the maximum out of AI are optimally carried out. We tailor software stacks that are web-based tools and applications that agricultural expert agronomists and farmers. You can use these technological solutions to leverage satellite data and manipulate them using smart AI, and IIoT powered analytical tools to get actionable insights on risk mitigation plans and strategies to facilitate agricultural decisions. We also offer the best visualisation tools to get comprehensive visibility on crops and their sustainment requirements via new-age technologies like GIS layers, Digital Twin, Simulations, Smart Dashboards and more. Connect with Cerexio to learn more about our solutions and services that mitigate the risks of Food Insecurity and Instability.

Future Implications of Satellite-based Anti-Crisis Measures

With the incorporation of satellite technology, the quality of precision agriculture increased. Nationals are now given the opportunity to reduce food wastage, produce food to satisfy realistic demands, promptly supply food and control food prices based on less wastage of time, money and efforts in the agricultural field. The application of satellite-driven technologies in the future of agriculture and irrigation is an indisputable fact. This technology helps in mapping large areas of agricultural lands, offering real-time insights, and maintaining healthy communication lines and offering bigger benefits that resonate the proof for beneficial transitions in the future of the global agricultural industry.

Compared to most technologies, satellite technologies have supported critical national decision making that relates to food production and supply; it ensures countries shore up the rates of unhindered food security in most countries. Therefore rather than relying on conventional and operationally limited methods of agriculture, farmers, agricultural specialists, agronomists, and governmental establishments now look up to the skies to harness the power of satellites. Satellite technologies have the potential to help decision-makers give a deadline to global hunger and malnutrition by deploying sustainable food production solutions that will use fact-based analysis to increase the productivity of food.

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