Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 25, Number 1, January-March 2005
Page(s) 63 - 77
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 25 (2005) 63-77
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2004056

Real-time agrometeorological crop yield monitoring in Eastern Africa

O. Rojas, F. Rembold, A. Royer and T. Negre

Joint Research Centre (JRC), MARS-IPSC, TP 266, 21020 Ispra (VA), Italy

(Received 24 March 2003; accepted 7 September 2004)

Abstract - The Joint Research Centre (JRC), in collaboration with the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), has developed for East Africa an operational crop yield monitoring and forecasting system (CYMFS). The CYMFS integrates into a Geographical Information System (GIS): the meteorological information of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), the Crop-Specific Water Balance (CSWB) model, and the Crop Production System Zones database (CPSZ). Additional and independent real-time satellite data from SPOT VEGETATION were analyzed using a specific crop mask to concentrate the analysis only on agricultural areas. This approach gives to the food analyst a qualitative picture of crop yield expectation for rain-fed crops at different stages of the growing season. The proposed methodology was applied to the first crop season of 2001 and 2002 and demonstrated a clear potential in crop monitoring and yield forecasting. The results obtained during the extremely dry year of 2002 proved that the crop monitoring system was timely and geographically precise. A new crop cycle progress index (CCPI) was developed to take into consideration the agro-ecological heterogeneity of the region.

Key words: crop monitoring / yield forecast / MARS project / early warning / food security

Corresponding author: O. Rojas

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005