Aerodefence

New satellite pest risk service to improve African farmers’ livelihoods

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The CABI-led Pest Risk Information SErvice (PRISE) project has been awarded £6.38 million in funding over five years by the UK Space Agency to reduce crop losses caused by pests in six sub-Saharan African countries, and improve farmer livelihoods.

The PRISE consortium includes Assimila Ltd, King’s College London and STFC Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, who will link their Earth Observation expertise with the Plantwise work undertaken by CABI. Partners also include the ministries of agriculture in the initial three countries of Kenya, Ghana and Zambia, delivering on-the-ground local knowledge to the project.

PRISE will create a pest risk forecasting system based on Earth Observation and Plantwise data with the aim of providing risk forecasts and early warnings in time for smallholder farmers to take preventive action, increasing their resilience to pest outbreaks.

CABI CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, said: “An estimated 40% of the world’s crops are lost to pests. This impacts the ability of smallholders living in poor rural communities to feed their families. More broadly, it affects food supply chains, international trade and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must take action. I’m delighted that the Plantwise network and data can be leveraged into this innovative new initiative using Earth observational data to predict pest outbreaks and reduce their impact by giving farmers early warning and more timely management advice.”

PRISE is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), a five-year, £152 million programme that partners UK space expertise with governments and organisations in emerging and developing economies. The aim is to deliver sustainable, economic and societal benefit using satellite data.

PRISE is one of 21 projects chosen to provide solutions to local issues in countries across Africa, Asia and Central and South America in areas including food security, drought, flooding and deforestation. The projects underwent a rigorous selection process to ensure they met strict requirements for Official Development Assistance and UN sustainability goals.

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