In the mid-March 2018, the EO4EP team organized the final round of country meetings and trainings in Armenia and Georgia to present the results of the project and to collect feedback from the users. A series of events attracted approximately 60 attendees.
Satellite images provide important, objective and up-to-date information about agriculture production. The users such as the National Statistical Office in Armenia and the Ministry of Agriculture in Georgia are interested in alternative and independent sources of information to verify data collected from local communities. The EO4SD initiative has not only enabled demonstration of EO-based products and services addressing those needs, but it also represents a good opportunity for building general awareness of capabilities of space-based solutions.
The meetings in Armenia and Georgia gathered higher-level decision-makers from interested institutions. During the events the services developed by the EO4EP project were presented and the use of EO-based information in specific cases was demonstrated, showing their value to support agriculture-related management.
Besides the general meetings, four separate demonstration and user feedback sessions were organised for potential future operators of the services. These sessions followed the capacity building workshops held in both countries in Autumn 2017, when preliminary services were shown and the methodology of production was explained. During the 2018 meetings information about the services was refreshed and the use of updated services was demonstrated, providing opportunity to collect feedback from users and answer all the questions that have arisen since initial workshops.
The events were attended by representatives of several institutions:
- in Armenia: National Statistical Service, Agriculture Development Fund under the Ministry of Agriculture, State Committee for Water Management, World Bank, Water PIU, USAID, Vine and Wine Foundation, Eurasian Development Bank and Forest Monitoring State Non-Commercial Organisation;
- in Georgia: Ministry of Agriculture, National Wine Agency, Georgian Amelioration, Scientific-Research Centre of Agriculture, World Bank, National Food Agency, Geostat.
Moreover the EO4EP team held in-depth discussions with the key stakeholders, including Ministry of Agriculture in Georgia and in Armenia: National Statistical Service, Agriculture Development Fund under the Ministry of Agriculture, State Committee for Water Management and local office of the World Bank.
The EO4EP activities in the Caucasus countries were focused on two areas of interest: Ararat Valley in Armenia and part of Kakheti region in Georgia. The services were developed by two companies: Gisat from Czech Republic and GeoPulse from Poland.
Gisat produced maps and vector layers with classification of agricultural land types and in case of Georgia crop types and cultures sown areas as well as maps of vineyards distribution with probability maps attached to them. The classification of satellite imagery was performed for two years: 2016 and 2017. The products are distributed through an online platform Panther, which allows for viewing and comparing the information layers and to statistically analyse and assess the results. The service is ready for operational use and can provide independent and objective information about sown areas to support evidence-based agriculture policies.
The classification provided by Gisat constitutes an input to another service developed by GeoPulse. It consists of three modules: agriculture productivity monitoring service, water users monitoring and experimental service for water leakage from irrigation canals and alarms. Monitoring of productivity gives the information on the state of crops throughout the growing season. The user can compare consecutive seasons, reaching back in time even to the year 2002. The service allows for understanding the impact of weather and climate on productivity and shows yields predictions of the main crops. The leakage service is based on the everyday monitoring of vegetation robustness and its changes along the irrigation channels. The user can activate automated alarms informing about the anomalies linked to the availability of water in the irrigation channel.
The services developed for Armenian and Georgian institutions will be freely available for 1 year until February 2019. More information can be found in the handbooks available in three language versions (English, Armenian and Georgian) and published on the website (here and here).