A major challenge facing the world is to be able to feed the population that we have, and to plan for how we will feed an even larger population in the future – possibly with less available land. Geospatial science has a major role to play in ensuring that this is possible, and that the United Nations Sustainability Goal to ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’ is met.
On 11th May 2016, EMBRACE held “To Boldly Grow”, a chance for industry to develop closer ties with academics carrying out advanced research into how satellite data can be used to both increase yields and improve the sustainability of agricultural land. On the day, many interesting ideas were shared, collaborations and partnerships proposed, future actions pencilled-in – either as part of the workshop, or over the excellent lunch supplied by BGS, at their site in Keyworth.
In recognition of the good work being done in the East Midlands on the benefits that geospatial technology can bring to agriculture, EMBRACE has been invited to work more closely with the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) committee. They invited Dr Suchith Anand to become a Research Fellow to continue his work on Open Data, and to take part in a major summit in New York on 15 and 16 September 2016, where he acted as a member of the panel during the research symposium. The Summit brought together world leaders, researchers, farmers, students and others – public, private and non-profit who were united in their commitment to bring about more open access to the data that will help transform global agriculture.
Another “offshoot” is to collaborate in running an AgriGIS workshop in Nairobi at the end of October. This two-day event is being funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, GODAN and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development in Nairobi. The workshop is the first step to promote the of use open source software by governments and agencies in the region in order to improve agricultural productivity, supported by the global networks of the open data community.