Coffee and Cocoa International (C&CI) published an article on how digital data can help farmers make a living in their May’19 issue. They re-used our story about ‘Satellite imaging making deforestation-free cocoa possible’ and added a section on the SAT4Farming program we set up together with Rainforest Alliance, Grameen Foundation, Touton, University of Ghana, and Waterwatch Projects.
‘In the last couple of years deforestation caused by growing cocoa has leapt into the headlines. Efforts are under way to halt deforestation in protected areas, but how do you monitor vast tracts of land in remote areas in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana?
The answer is, from the air, or rather, from space, using satellites, and artificial intelligence (AI), to provide accurate, customised data about where deforestation is taking place and provide farmers with equally accurate, customised information that they can use to grow more cocoa, but without encroaching on the forest.’
‘Rainforest Alliance, Grameen Foundation, Touton, Satelligence, University of Ghana, and Waterwatch Projects set up the SAT4Farming programme to provide farmers with information and services to improve productivity and sustainability. The aim is to use digital technology and satellite imagery to create customised Farm Development Plans (FDPs) that can guide farmers and help them increase productivity. The aim is to increase their average productivity by up to 1,500kg per hectare – that would be a 300 per cent increase.’
‘Until recently, it has been impossible to accurately and cost-effectively map cocoa production in entire countries at farm-level because cocoa trees show up as forest in conventional satellite images, but Satelligence developed a new approach using freely available Sentinel-1 and 2 satellite imagery and scientific concepts developed in Ghana in order to overcome this issue.’
‘Having continuous cloud free observations from satellite-based radar is a ‘game-changer’ for early warning of deforestation and can help verify drivers of change in the forests of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. It can also help efforts to plan for rehabilitation of illegal cocoa farms in parks and reserves, providing local people with alternatives to cutting down trees to try to make a living income.’
Read the full article and find out more about helping farmers make a living income and tracking progress towards zero deforestation in the cocoa supply chain.