Food Security Check: A 2017 Look at Sahel Region (Burkina Faso through Niger and northern Nigeria)

John Corbett Ph.D., aWhere, Inc. Chief Science Officer - September 2017

Food Security Check: A 2017 Look at Sahel Region (Burkina Faso through Niger and northern Nigeria) 

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Coffee’s Precarious Position

 

Weather variability has increased and will only become more extreme as the atmosphere warms. A general overview of why this current variability will continue to increase in the coming years can be found in this blog: Food Security and Weather Variability.


Coffee's Precarious Position (August 2017)

  • Coffee stores in many areas are at historic lows
  • Global demand for coffee is steady and growing
  • Understanding each of the coffee tree’s growth stages is
    key to accurately forecasting yields
  • aWhere monitors all of the world’s coffee growing regions 
    with complete, highly localized coverage on a daily basis
  • This complete global coverage allows us to forecast crop
    stress, and ultimately, crop yields

The coffee plant, particularly Arabica (the more rich and tasty type), is vulnerable to decreased production due to many factors from too warm nighttime temperatures to variable rains and drought. Taking between 30-35 weeks from flowering to harvest-ready, the risk of stressed periods is much greater now than ever. Stressed trees are more susceptible to disease and insect damage. The last section of this document is a brief primer on growing coffee and the relationship between the coffee tree and the weather.

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Current condition review - Rainfall is ‘near’ normal in China this season, so why am I concerned about corn (and soybean) production?

Here at aWhere, we monitor the agricultural earth with a weather station’s worth of daily data every 9km – yes, every 9km we construct a virtual weather station. These observed data are current through yesterday and we provide 7 days (and up to 15 days) worth of hourly data for each of these virtual weather stations – forecasts are updated every 6 hours.

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aWhere’s Ag Intelligence - Foundation ‘big data’ Asset

aWhere’s Agricultural Intelligence products provide users with accurate – and localized - agricultural information for the entire agricultural earth. In order to accomplish this, aWhere integrates information from ground weather stations, Doppler weather stations, satellites, and other sources from around the world in order to create a continuous global ‘weather surfaces’(continuous, accurate, geographic layers of weather information). By collecting and organizing this information, aWhere is able to create a global network of more than 1.5 million virtual weather stations that provide daily observed and hourly forecast information. With quality data since 2006, recent increases in weather variability are captured at a hyper-local resolution.

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How thirsty is the atmosphere? Using PET to quantify atmospheric demand and monitor crop health.

Rainfall is clearly the key variable when monitoring crop production, but what are the ramifications of the warming atmosphere?  Even a slight increase in temperatures during the growing season is cause for careful monitoring.  More and more I am seeing reports when ‘near normal’ rainfall is equated to ‘all is well,’ yet there is a fundamental flaw in this thinking.

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New Farmer Service Launches in Uganda Using aWhere Data

Packaged weather alerts, agronomic tips, and crop insurance marketed to smallholders

In March 2017, the MUIIS Service launched in Uganda after a strong effort from local developers, farmer outreach agents, and international data providers. aWhere is proud to be one of the data partners in the MUIIS project, contributing to the agronomic design of the system and supplying weather data to fuel its regular updates. We started work on the MUIIS project in September of 2015, and our team has visited Uganda multiple times to work with on the ground partners in developing the service.

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