Kenya: Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries has issued the country’s first national crop monitor, with support from NASA SERVIR, Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), and the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM). Information on crop conditions from across Kenya was made publically available in the first edition of the crop monitor in May 2018.
Crop failure can be devastating for farmers and for food security, but national-level crop monitoring enables countries to better predict and prepare for fluctuations in agricultural production, in order to mitigate loss and damage.
Drought, in particular, is an issue that has impacted food security in Kenya in recent years. The Kenyan Crop Monitor will provide early warning of crop failure related to drought and other risks, giving the government time to take preemptive action to protect livelihoods and ensure food security during food crises.
The value of GEOGLAM crop monitors has already been demonstrated elsewhere in Africa. In 2017 a crop monitor alerted Ugandan authorities to a coming crop failure due to drought. This early warning triggered the country’s Disaster Risk Financing fund, which provided US$4 million to support 31,386 households (roughly 150,000 people) during the crisis.
Global support for national agricultural monitoring
In order to strengthen national capacity to prevent food insecurity and food price volatility, GEOGLAM has supported the development of national crop monitors in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Vietnam. The goal is to help as many countries as possible.
GEOGLAM provides national partners with the methods and tools to develop and manage national crop monitors, and then transitions the tools to be managed nationally. The information produced by the governments then informs global assessments for food security and markets.