We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

[ABIDJAN] Researchers at Senegal’s Centre for Ecological Monitoring (Centre de Suivi Ecologique, CSE), in Dakar, and the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Sciences and Technology (ISNET), based in Karachi, Pakistan,have agreed to collaborate on space technologies to boost food production in Senegal.

CSE director-general, Aziz Touré, told Scidev.Net said that in addition to government policies such as increasing food imports, space technology — particularly remote sensing — could help solve the country's food problems.

According to Touré, population growth creates high demand for food, putting pressure on food security in developing countries and increases dependence on foreign markets. The situation is exacerbated by climate change, as experience through extreme meteorological events.

Abdoul Aziz Diallo, president of the Senegalese Red Cross, said Senegal is one of the most food crisis-affected countries in the Sahel region. "Some 800,000 people are affected by food insecurity," he told Scidev.Net.

Ahmad Bilal, president of ISNET, which exists under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), said that satellites were able to cover many areas of a country.

"With remote detection, one can therefore exploit information gathered through the use of these space technologies," he said. Such technologies "constitute a precious contribution in the field of accurate agriculture, crop control, output valuation and meteorological forecasting".

Bilal said a workshop held in Dakar last month (9-14 July), which was attended by researchers from Senegal and ISNET, had been an opportunity for ISNET member countries to establish a permanent collaboration on space technology applications to improve food security.

Key focus areas for collaboration would include farming land management; the evaluation of factors causing crop damage, including water availability and weather patterns; the evaluation of damage caused by floods, cyclones, bushfires, extreme cold, and earthquakes; and the evaluation of agro-meteorological data of lands and soils.

Ismaila Diop, principal private secretary at Senegal’s Environment Ministry, said food security was an urgent issue for African leaders.

"The collaboration between the Senegalese experts and those of the ISNET network allows us to find solutions to climate change [impacts on] agricultural development and food stability in Africa," Diop told Scidev.Net.