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Remote sensing products and services in support of agricultural public policies in Africa: Overview and challenges

Bégué A., Leroux L., Soumaré M., Faure J.F., Diouf A.A., Augusseau X., Touré L., Tonneau J.P.. 2020. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4 : 11 p..

DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.00058

In the last decade, governments, international institutions, donors, the private sector, etc. have shown a renewed interest in agricultural issues in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This interest came with a strong need for information in countries where the lack of reliable and timely basic information can be a problem. Thanks to its capacity to observe the Earth at local, regional, and global scales and from various vantage points, satellite remote sensing is a powerful tool to streamline the monitoring and improvement of the existing systems, and thus to support decision-making. However, the path from satellite images to public policy decisions is not straightforward, and today, only few operational information services are available in SSA countries (e.g., early warning systems for food security and desert locust plagues prevention, rangeland production forecasting). This paper aims to analyze the gap between the technical aspects of the remote sensing sciences and the pragmatic need for relevant data to address agricultural policies in Africa and produce operational recommendations. To achieve this goal, the authors (1) determine the information, and in particular the geoinformation, needed to develop, implement and evaluate agricultural public policies (2) illustrate the role of remote sensing as a public policy tool in SSA through an overview of the current off-the-shelf products and services derived from Earth Observation systems, and (3) propose an analysis of the existing gap between the remote sensing research community and the policy makers. Based on this review, the authors conclude that to benefit from this technological advancement and bridge the gap between technical analysts and policy makers, some key points are fundamental: capacity building, political will and institutional commitment, public-private partnership, and proofs of concept.

Mots-clés : politique agricole; télédétection; sécurité alimentaire; gestion foncière; système d'alerte rapide; imagerie par satellite; afrique au sud du sahara; politique publique

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