GEOGLAM Crop Assessment Tool: Adapting from global agricultural monitoring to food security monitoring

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Michael Laurence Humber, Inbal Becker-Reshef, Jon Nordling, Brian Barker and Katie McGaughey, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States
The GEOGLAM Crop Monitor’s Crop Assessment Tool was released in August 2013 in support of the GEOGLAM Crop Monitor’s objective to develop transparent, timely crop condition assessments in primary agricultural production areas, highlighting potential hotspots of stress/bumper crops. The Crop Assessment Tool allows users to view satellite derived products, best available crop masks, and crop calendars (created in collaboration with GEOGLAM Crop Monitor partners), then in turn submit crop assessment entries detailing the crop’s condition, drivers, impacts, trends, and other information.

Although the Crop Assessment Tool was originally intended to collect data on major crop production at the global scale, the types of data collected are also relevant to the food security and rangelands monitoring communities. In line with the GEOGLAM Countries at Risk philosophy of “foster[ing] the coordination of product delivery and capacity building efforts for national and regional organizations, and the development of harmonized methods and tools”, a modified version of the Crop Assessment Tool is being developed for the USAID Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).

As a member of the Countries at Risk component of GEOGLAM, FEWS NET provides agricultural monitoring, timely food security assessments, and early warnings of potential significant food shortages focusing specifically on countries at risk of food security emergencies. While the FEWS NET adaptation of the Crop Assessment Tool focuses on crop production in the context of food security rather than large scale production, the data collected is nearly identical to the data collected by the Crop Monitor. If combined, the countries monitored by FEWS NET and GEOGLAM Crop Monitor would encompass over 90 countries representing the most important regions for crop production and food security.