Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries

The report is drafted by Caribou Space for the International Partnership Programme, a five-year, £30 million per year programme run by the UK Space Agency. This report outlines why and how the space industry has a critical role to play in addressing major challenges confronting the agriculture sector in developing countries.

The global agriculture sector faces many challenges today, many of which are more acute in developing countries. Low agricultural production remains a major issue for the agriculture sector in developing countries and is a contributing factor to ongoing hunger and malnutrition in these countries.

Concurrently, the growing demand for food and decreasing availability of land for farming caused by global population growth is a major issue. Unpredictable and extreme weather patterns, loss of land and changes in growing conditions caused by climate change presents significant challenges for the agriculture industry globally. Access to natural resources such as land and water is under increasing pressure and the unsustainable use of such resources is a major challenge for the agriculture industry.

The space sector is well placed to contribute new types of information and tools to form part of the solution to the major challenges facing the agriculture sector today, in both developed and developing countries. Space solutions can support four key actions to tackle these challenges:

Increase production – Earth observation (EO) improves the accuracy and relevance of decision support tools and affordability of credit products.

Improve supply chain efficiency to reduce losses – Earth observation enables supply chain optimisation.

Sustainable management of environmental resources and supply chain traceability – Earth observation improves the range of decision support tools for resource management and traceability.

Resilience to climate change – Earth observation improves the accuracy of early warning systems and affordability of insurance.