Developing agriculture from the sky (IFAD)

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Developing agriculture from the sky

By Kelsea Brennan-Wessels, Editor, Earth Obervation, ESRIN

From 800 km high, Earth-observing satellites are assisting international developmentorganisations with their work in developing countries. Satellites enable objective observations of the status of remote rural areas consistently over space and time.

The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is one of the world’s richest agricultural regions and due to the amount of rice produced there it is often referred to as Vietnam’s ‘rice bowl’. The crop feeds the rest of the country and produces enough to make Vietnam one of the world’s top rice exporters.

But the local agriculture – and, as a consequence, the nation’s economy – is threatened by sea level rise and the subsequent influx of salt water.

In order to identify long-term changes in rice cultivated areas and evaluate the effect of salinity intrusion on these areas, satellite data are being used to create land use and land cover maps for statistical analysis.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.