Connecting Science and Stakeholders for Improved Drought and Crop Productivity Assessments in East Africa: Early Lessons

Friday, 19 December 2014
Stephanie L Granger1, Denis Macharia2, Konstantinos Andreadis1 and Narendra N Das3, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Regional Center for Mapping Resources for Development, Nairobi, Kenya, (3)Jet Propulsion Lab, Pasadena, CA, United States
Agriculture is the ‘backbone’ of the economies in East Africa and is dominated by smallholder farms that are mainly rain-fed and highly vulnerable to climate change, variability, and drought. However the region lacks access to developed, reliable, and effective data and analysis to guide planning for agriculture and drought mitigation. Advances in remote sensing technologies and associated tools enable the collection and quantitative analysis of observations over large geographic regions. As such, data from remote sensing platforms have become a critical tool in developed countries for climate adaptation, water resources management, drought planning and mitigation, and agriculture. Yet barriers remain in Africa due to cost (even as costs decline), issues of sustainability, and lack of capacity and expertise. A shift must be facilitated at the policy maker and practitioner level to adopt or incorporate remote sensing observations and analysis to make better, more informed decisions for drought and agricultural management and planning. Based on an on-going NASA-USAID SERVIR East Africa Drought and Crop Productivity project, recent experience is presented to illustrate best practices and lessons learned in transitioning NASA Earth Science research results to decision making in Kenya through capacity building.