The chosen anchor geographies are scattered along a gradient from higher to lower levels of precipitation, coinciding with a gradient from regions with typical surplus of agricultural products in the south to regions with more frequent deficits in food production in the north. The most extreme example of deficit is the highly food-insecure region of Karamoja in northern Uganda, which serves as an additional test site with climatic conditions similar to other areas in East Africa.
10x10 km Sites
AgriSense Africa is focused on national-scale monitoring of agricultural production in support of food security assessments. To this end, the project also develops methodologies for analyzing very high resolution satellite remote sensing imagery (RapidEye, Worldview2/3) for crop type and crop condition. These methodologies are being developed with the goal of incorporating them into a national-scale monitoring system using a sampling-based approach. Four 10x10 km landscapes are used for research and development of these methods and algorithms. For each landscape, high resolution satellite imagery from the RapidEye and WorldView2/3 satellites have been tasked to acquire imagery every two weeks during the growing season, pending feasibility due to high levels of cloudiness, particularly in the southern landscape. Within each 10x10 km landscape in Tanzania, two 1x1 km focus areas have been selected within which field data are collected on crop type, mixed cropping systems, crop height, leaf area index (LAI), number of leaves, leaf surface temperature and developmental stage.
Moroto district is located in the semi-arid Karamoja and least agriculturally productive region in Uganda. Karamoja has a uni-modal rainfall pattern and total annual rainfall is estimated at 500-773 mm with long dry spells and high spatial variability. The region faces several challenges. Combined with worsening climatic conditions, population growth is adding to the scale of impacts of natural and man-made disasters that include drought and flooding leading to low productivity, crop failure, over-grazing, and livestock diseases. Karamoja remains a recipient of food aid since the early 1960’s.
Same district is located in the northern Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. This region has two main rainy seasons; the short rainy season (Vuli) is from October to November and the long rainy season (Masika) is from March to May. Temporary mixed vegetable crops is the largest land use, with maize and beans as the two most important crops. Agriculture is majority rain-fed with little to no inputs or use of improved seed varieties. Agricultural production is low and there is little to no access to extension services to the majority of the population.
Kilosa district is located in central Morogoro region of Tanzania. Rainfall in this region is unimodal, with the main rainy season from November to May and the highest rainfall between February and March. More than 80% of the people in Kilosa depend on agriculture. The main land use is crop production of maize and rice. Improved seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides are available and used in this area. Access to extension services is high and irrigation use is moderate.
Njombe district is located in the southern Iringa region of Tanzania. Rainfall is unimodal, with the main rainy season from November to May and the highest average rainfall in March. The dominant economic activity is agricultural production focused on maize and wheat. Improved seeds are available but with limited use. Fertilizer use is high with low to moderate use of irrigation and pesticides.