Over the last months, FutureWater developed and launched its What-to-Plant application for the Mavo Diami project in Angola. The What-to-Plant service from FutureWater provides planting advice to farmers for the upcoming crop season, so that farmers can anticipate on which seeds to buy. The consortium will continue with keeping services operational so it can be used in Angola and exploit relevant opportunities to increase the added value for the smallholders.
This Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) project started in 2019 to improve sustainable food and income security for smallholder farmers in Angola, by accelerating their agri-business performance through informed decisions supported by the Mavo Diami services built on weather, soil and crop signals and other relevant data and indicators. The project was carried out in a consortium with World Vision, eLEAF, Weather Impact, Aequator, GaiaVision and KRES.
The partners developed various microservices, such as a meteorological forecast application, a rain season indicator and weather suitability predictor by Weather Impact, the What-to-Plant application by FutureWater and the When-to-Plant application by eLEAF. All microservices where validated by three different validation tests. Local implementation was assured by training several hundreds of extensionists, responsible for onboarding new farmers and providing them with valuable information from the Mavo Diami service. The What-to-Plant service from FutureWater provides planting advice to farmers for the upcoming crop season, so that farmers can anticipate on which seeds to buy. With this service, farmers get an insight on which crops are suitable for planting or not. To provide this advice, land suitability maps for several crops are calculated, based on remote sensing, historic data and a range of parameters such as historic temperature and rainfall, soil hydraulic properties, cropping calendars and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). These land suitability maps provide a number from 0 to 1 for every pixel for the crop modelled, with 0 being unfit to plant and 1 being very good to plant. With the seasonal weather forecast input provided by Weather Impact, the modelled land suitability maps can be turned into a monthly what-to-plant advice, thus giving information if a crop is suitable or not for the coming three months based on current weather information.
During the project, continuous improvements and various updates have taken place based on feedback from local partners and users. With the launch of the newest version of the Voicebot and Chatbot, that enables farmers to obtain the What-to-Plant information through their mobile phone, the project has formally come to an end. The consortium will continue with keeping services operational so it can be used in Angola and exploit relevant opportunities to increase the added value for the smallholders.
Applications for the eLearning course Real Water Savings in Agriculture (REWAS) can be submitted starting today. This online course is organized by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and FutureWater at no costs and will be organized in August 2022. Focus will be on India. Participants will receive a FAO / FutureWater certificate after successful completion.
The REWAS training course will introduce a simple tool to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture. Target audience are professionals working in water management (policy, academia, government, NGOs, private sector). Participants will gain a solid understanding of the linkages between field interventions (water, soil, agronomy) and basin-scale hydrology, in addition to being able to quantify these impacts.
The REWAS tool will be distributed among the participants and can be used free of charge during and after the training.
The training is delivered as an eLearning and will be distributed over a 4-weeks period. Each week consists of approximately 1 hour of ‘live’ online learning with all participants (using videoconferencing tool) followed by about 3 to 5 hours of self-learning at ones own pace.
The live online learning sessions will take place at the following days (13:30-14:30 Indian Time):
Downloadable flyers for both courses in North and South India by clicking the links.
In April, Vera Hollander, Water Management Expert at FutureWater, visited Mozambique for the APSAN-Vale project. This project will demonstrate what the best combinations are of adoption strategies and technological packages, with the largest overall impact in terms of Water Productivity, both at the plot-level, sub-basin as well as basin-level.
The project has as its overall aim to increase climate resilient agricultural productivity and food security, with a specific objective to increase the water productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in Mozambique, prioritizing small (family sector) farmers to increase food and nutritional security. The main role of FutureWater is monitoring water productivity in target areas (both spatial and seasonal/annual variation) using Flying Sensors in combination with a water productivity simulation model and field observations.
The visit consisted of various activities around the project. In Chimoio, FutureWater worked together with the three operators that are responsible for the Flying Sensor flights, and met with the local consortium team that implements the project. In addition, the team travelled to the three project locations: Barue, Nhamatanda and Moatize.
During these visits, several appointments took place with the project team on the ground in each district and with the farmers that participate in the project, to see their fields and hear about their experiences. It was a very nice and fruitful trip and we look forward to continue our work on the project!
Last month, FutureWater concluded training programs on Real Water Savings for Bangladesh, China and Indonesia. This training was part of the project ‘Delivering Training on Real Water Savings (ReWaS) for the Regional Water Scarcity Program in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Thailand and China’ that FutureWater is rolling out in cooperation with the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In this project, FutureWater offers a training program on Real Water Savings (ReWaS) to water management professionals from five different countries. ReWaS is a simple tool developed by FutureWater, to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture.
The training offered a tailored training package that facilitates an assessment of the impact of field scale crop-water interventions at the basin scale.For all the trainings so far, we had an enthusiastic and ambitious group of water experts ranging from university students to government officials. All participants were actively involved and worked very hard during the interactive live sessions and the homework assignments.
For each country, we provided a tailor-made case study that combined all the knowledge gained over the training program:
China: Towards groundwater neutral cropping systems in the Alluvial Fans of the North China Plain
Indonesia: Agronomic Performance and Economic Benefits of Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) Under Drip Irrigation for Sandy and Clay Soils in East Java, Indonesia
Bangladesh: Effect of drip irrigation and mulching on yield, water-use efficiency and economics of tomato
The beneficiaries of this training, provided by FutureWater together with Solidaridad, belong to the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI).
ZARI is a department within the Ministry of Agriculture of Zambia with the overall objective to provide a high quality, appropriate and cost-effective service to farmers, generating and adapting crop, soil and plant protection technologies. This department comprises a number of sections, one of which, for the purpose of this training request is the Soil and Water Management (SWM) division. ZARI and the SWM carry out demand-driven research, trying to find solutions to the problems faced by Zambian small-scale farmers, especially considering the near- and long-term impacts of climate change.
The training programme consists of a hybrid approach of e-learning and in-person training sessions and is structured around the following modules:
Remote sensing-based analysis using Google Earth Engine to assess trends in land use, management, degradation and hotspots for intervention.
Data collection and database management.
GIS and remote sensing to assess suitability for SWC.
Effectiveness and prioritization of SWC using open-source tools.
Independent working on case study.
At the end of the training, it is expected that participants have achieved several objectives such as acquisition of technical skills for extracting relevant data from open access remote sensing products and improved knowledge of data collection and database management.
In irrigated agriculture options to save water tend to focus on improved irrigation techniques such as drip and sprinkler irrigation. These irrigation techniques are promoted as legitimate means of increasing water efficiency and “saving water” for other uses (such as domestic use and the environment). However, a growing body of evidence, including a key report by FAO (Perry and Steduto, 2017) shows that in most cases, water “savings” at field scale translate into an increase in water consumption at system and basin scale. Yet despite the growing and irrefutable body of evidence, false “water savings” technologies continue to be promoted, subsidized and implemented as a solution to water scarcity in agriculture.
The goal is to stop false “water savings” technologies to be promoted, subsidized and implemented. To achieve this, it is important to quantify the hydrologic impacts of any new investment or policy in the water sector. Normally, irrigation engineers and planners are trained to look at field scale efficiencies or irrigation system efficiencies at the most. Also, many of the tools used by irrigation engineers are field scale oriented (e.g. FAO AquaCrop model). The serious consequences of these actions are to worsen water scarcity, increase vulnerability to drought, and threaten food security.
There is an urgent need to develop simple and pragmatic tools that can evaluate the impact of field scale crop-water interventions at larger scales (e.g. irrigation systems and basins). Although basin scale hydrological models exist, many of these are either overly complex and unable to be used by practitioners, or not specifically designed for the upscaling from field interventions to basin scale impacts. Moreover, achieving results from the widely-used FAO models such as AquaCrop into a basin-wide impact model is time-consuming, complex and expensive. Therefore, FutureWater developed a simple but robust tool to enhance usability and reach, transparency, transferability in data input and output. The tool is based on proven concepts of water productivity, water accounting and the appropriate water terminology, as promoted by FAO globally (FAO, 2013). Hence, the water use is separated in consumptive use, non-consumptive use, and change in storage.
A complete training package was developed which includes a training manual and an inventory of possible field level interventions. The training manual includes the following aspects:
Introduce and present the real water savings tool
Describe the theory underlying the tool and demonstrating some typical applications
Learn how-to prepare the data required for the tool for your own area of interest
Learn when real water savings occur at system and basin scale with field interventions
For smallholder farming systems, there is a huge potential to increase water productivity by improved (irrigated) water management, better access to inputs and agronomical knowledge and improved access to markets. An assessment of the opportunities to boost the water productivity of the various agricultural production systems in Mozambique is a fundamental precondition for informed planning and decision-making processes concerning these issues. Methodologies need to be employed that will result in an overall water productivity increase, by implementing tailored service delivery approaches, modulated into technological packages that can be easily adopted by Mozambican smallholder farmers. This will not only improve the agricultural (water) productivity and food security for the country on a macro level but will also empower and increase the livelihood of Mozambican smallholder farmers on a micro level through climate resilient production methods.
This pilot project aims at identifying, validating and implementing a full set of complementary Technological Packages (TP) in the Zambezi Valley, that can contribute to improve the overall performance of the smallholders’ farming business by increasing their productivity, that will be monitored at different scales (from field to basin). The TPs will cover a combination of improvement on water, irrigation, and agronomical management practices strengthened by improved input and market access. The goal is to design TPs that are tailored to the local context and bring the current family sector a step further in closing the currently existing yield gap. A road map will be developed to scale up the implementation of those TPs that are sustainable on the long run, and extract concrete guidance for monitoring effectiveness of interventions, supporting Dutch aid policy and national agricultural policy. The partnership consisting of Resilience BV, HUB, and FutureWater gives a broad spectrum of expertise and knowledge, giving the basis for an integrated approach in achieving improvements of water productivity.
The main role of FutureWater is monitoring water productivity in target areas using an innovative approach of Flying Sensors, a water productivity simulation model, and field observations. The flying sensors provide regular observations of the target areas, thereby giving insight in the crop conditions and stresses occurring. This information is used both for monitoring the water productivity of the selected fields and determining areas of high or low water productivity. Information on the spatial variation of water productivity can assist with the selection of technical packages to introduce and implement in the field. Flying sensors provide high resolution imagery, which is suitable for distinguishing the different fields and management practices existent in smallholder farming.
In May 2020, FutureWater launched an online portal where all flying sensor imagery from Mozambique, taken as part of the APSAN-Vale project, can be found: futurewater.eu/apsanvaleportal
Project video: Portrait of the activities on water productivity
The Nuffic TMT training on ‘Climate smart irrigation strategies to improve salinity control and enhance agricultural production in Iraq’, provided by FutureWater and Wageningen University, in collaboration with Basra University has been completed successfully.
The training, using the FutureWater Moodle School, was aimed at building capacity of participants in accessing and using innovative public-domain data, tools, and models to analyse water resources to support climate-smart irrigation strategies. Structured in three training modules, the training was tailored to different tools for gaining insight into salinity issues, improving salinity control, and enhancing agricultural production in Iraq:
Google Earth Engine: Geospatial mapping for water resources and agricultural applications using remote sensing and cloud computing
SWAP modeling: Soil-water-plant modelling to determine optimal irrigation water allocations to control water tables and soil salinity
ReWas toolbox: Crop water productivity options to achieve real water savings in irrigated agriculture.
We look back on a productive training that contributed to strengthening the collaboration and vibrant partnerships between Dutch and Iraqi institutions in the fields of water management, agriculture, and education!
We are very happy to announce that our APSAN-Vale project in Mozambique will be extended till December 2022!
The APSAN-Vale project has as its overall aim to increase climate resilient agricultural productivity and food security, with a specific objective to increase the water productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers in Mozambique, prioritizing small (family sector) farmers to increase food and nutritional security. It demonstrates what the best combinations are of adoption strategies and technological packages, with the largest overall impact in terms of Water Productivity, both at the plot-level, sub-basin as well as basin-level. The main role of FutureWater is monitoring water productivity in target areas (both spatial and seasonal/annual variation) using Flying Sensors in combination with a water productivity simulation model and field observations.
With the extension of a year, we are able to cover two extra crop seasons (irrigated and rainfed) and we can monitor the water productivity of more farmers. In addition, we can continue the cooperation with our local operators from ThirdEye Mozambique Central and they can strengthen their skills regarding drone operations and image processing. We are looking forward to another year!
This week the training program on Real Water Savings in Thailand was started. This training is part of the project ‘Delivering Training on Real Water Savings (ReWaS) for the Regional Water Scarcity Program in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Thailand and Afghanistan’ that FutureWater is rolling out in cooperation with the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In this project, FutureWater offers a training program on Real Water Savings (ReWaS) to water management professionals from five different countries. ReWaS is a simple tool developed by FutureWater, to estimate the potential for generating real water savings from various agronomic, water management and technical practices in irrigated agriculture. The training will offer a tailored training package that facilitates an assessment of the impact of field scale crop-water interventions at the basin scale.
For the online training in Thailand, we started with an enthusiastic group of 25 water management professionals ranging from government officials to university students. We are looking forward to working together on real water savings for the coming weeks!