Open access and big data platform for smallholder farmers recognized for contribution to digital transformation.
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) was honored with the Award for Excellence at the 2023 edition of the National Project Management Excellence Awards, organized by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in Sri Lanka. The award recognized the Earth Observation for Agricultural Risk Management (EO4ARM) application for its contribution to accelerating Sri Lanka’s agricultural digital transformation.
The EO4ARM platform helps to build agricultural resilience among smallholder farmers in Sri Lanka by providing a comprehensive range of solutions — including weather forecasts, flood and drought monitoring, crop health status and farm-level updates — to assess climate risks and crop health, and enable timely compensation and mitigation measures. The platform offers seamless access to near real-time, publicly available satellite data through National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel 1 (Synthetic aperture radar) & Sentinel-2 (Optical) satellite data, for fine-scale agricultural insurance monitoring. It also has the capacity to access historical data to assist partners in promoting new insurance products and disaster preparedness programs, including climate resilience strategies.
The awards ceremony took place in Colombo on August 16, 2023. Giriraj Amarnath, Research Group Leader for the Water Risks and Disasters at IWMI, celebrated the achievement. “This award is significant for recognizing that IWMI has developed digital innovation for agricultural transformation through the use of digital technologies, open-source data and models packaged as an AgriStack platform,” Amarnath said. “This was mainly begun with the intention of helping insurance companies to de-risk production and look at how farming practices can be better managed, through seasonal and short-term forecasts.”
The platform and the project have huge potential as they demonstrate how insurance companies can monitor a specific insured area and underwrite these regions to de-risk production. This can be scaled via public sector collaboration and the participation of value chain partners. As a next step, EO4ARM will be integrated with the GeoGoviya smart farming platform to provide end-to-end services at local and national level. Additional features on EO4ARM will be scaled with support of CGIAR initiatives on Climate resilience and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This includes providing irrigation authorities, the Department of Agrarian Development in Sri Lanka, and the Ministry of Agriculture the ability to track rice and major crop production areas at country-level to provide farm-level climate services.
EO4ARM was funded with the assistance of the German development agency GIZ, through support of the European Union. The EO4ARM platform is available online.