UN-SPIDER | SERVIR programme in Kenya provides EO data to help financial aid reach farmers more efficiently

A variety of environmental and man-made factors can have a detrimental effect on the yield of farmers worldwide. A programme launched in Kenya, funded by SERVIR in collaboration with NASA Harvest and the Swiss Re Foundation, uses Earth observation (EO) data to assess crop damage and prioritise the mobilisation of financial aid to farmers.

SERVIR is a joint initiative by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and NASA’s Earth Applied Sciences Program that works with “leading regional organizations world-wide to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies for managing climate risks and land use”. SERVIR both provides access to EO data and offers capacity-building activities such as trainings to strengthen the use of EO data in decision-making efforts. Its work focuses on developing countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, West Africa, the Hindu-Kush region of the Himalayas, the lower Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia and the Amazon region of South America. On site, SERVIR is supported by its regional offices.

In Kenya, SERVIR helps local crop insurance programmes reach the right farmers. A NASA Earth Applied Sciences Team, working alongside colleagues at SERVIR’s regional office for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Kenya, created maps utilising EO data of farmland to better evaluate crop damage. This information helps employees of the local crop insurance programmes in their ability to assess where funding is needed the most. According to estimates, this development has helped the programme tremendously increase its efficiency and outreach over the years. In 2019, the programme reached 425,000 farmers in Kenya, an increase of more than 1,300% since 2015.

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Source: United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UN-SPIDER), 03 March 2021