Satellite technology is a real game-changer for our work towards a more secure global food supply.
Remember the 2010 drought in Russia, affecting an area the size of Western Europe? Imagine the amount of work that needed to be done by the local loss adjusters to go to each and every farmer and each and every field and judge the losses to the crops. Needless to say, this is cost-intensive and prone to mistakes and moral hazard.
But we can do this in a much more efficient way! Satellites can detect the amount of solar energy that plants are absorbing and storing in their seeds – the part of the plant that interests us most at harvest time. Satellites can therefore tell us if a crop is suffering from drought stress and help us predict whether there will be lower production.
This can be measured very accurately, as we found out in our research projects in the Russian Black Sea region and the huge soybean producing areas of Brazil. We learned that satellite images can show us crop anomalies and losses due to very cold winters or drought. We learned that the information can be used to manage our agricultural risks. And last but not least, we learned how the remote-sensing information can be used to design insurance products which offer cost-efficient cover to farmers against catastrophic events, are less prone to possible fraud or misinterpretation, and can deliver a very fast payout in case of damage.
Category: Food security: Farming, Climate/natural disasters