USAID, NASA, and ICRISAT Announce the Launch of Phase 2 of SERVIR-West Africa

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in joint partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has launched the second phase of the SEVIR West Africa; a satellite imagery technology that connects space to villages through satellite data to combat critical challenges in food security, water resources, weather and climate, land use, and disasters in developing countries.

The project themed, “Connecting Space to Village”, would enable crop monitoring and condition assessment, desert locust risk mapping, flash flood vulnerability mapping, groundwater monitoring, ephemeral water bodies monitoring, and artisanal mining monitoring. Other use cases of this initiative are charcoal production monitoring, commune-level development planning, farmer-managed natural regeneration, sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasting, and sustainable development goals mapping.

Speaking at the launch event, USAID’s West Africa Mission Director, Madam Jo Lesser-Oltheten, explained the importance of geospatial technology in providing evidence to shape development progress, address climate change and deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, she added that satellite technologies provide data to help farmers, including livestock farmers, identify safe water bodies for their crops and animals to enable themselves, their dependents and society to sustain a living. However, she noted that accessing agricultural insurance was one of the hardest things for farmers, as it was considered high risk by financial institutions. Nonetheless, Madam Lesser-Oltheten said satellite imaging could show where the potentials on a farm were for farmers to reduce risks to attract investors.

Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Director, ICRISAT, West and Central Africa, called on the government to create an enabling environment through policies and provide logistics to enhance farming, including fertiliser. According to Dr Tabo, the government and private sector should make resources and credits accessible to encourage many youths to enter into agriculture. He said his office and USAID would ensure that SERVIR was implemented to ensure that no one was left behind, adding that their key instrument was for poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

About ICRISAT

ICRISAT is an International non-profit agricultural research institute with state-of-the-art agro-biotechnology research facilities supporting innovation, development, and applications of a broad range of biotechnological solutions spreading across various domains from basic research to product translation. ICRISAT in March announced the award of a five-year cooperative agreement by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the second phase of SERVIR West Africa.

About SERVIR West Africa

SERVIR West Africa was established in 2016 and forms one of five hubs globally. The hub enjoys a productive partnership with several West African institutions, international universities, and organisations. The consortium is comprised of the African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology (AFRIGIST, Ile-Ife, Nigeria), the Agrometeorology, Hydrology, Meteorology Regional Centre (AGRHYMET, Niamey, Niger), the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services (CERSGIS, Accra, Ghana), the Centre de Suivi Écologique (CSE, Dakar, Senegal), the Institut Supérieur d’Études Spatiales et des Télécommunications (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso), and the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS, Mbour, Senegal and Cape Coast, Ghana) as well as a partnership with the Centre for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, both at Columbia University and with the University of Florida.