Morocco to use satellite technology in irrigation strategies

The Royal Centre for Remote Sensing launched on September 8 « IRRISAT-Morocco », a new irrigation program that seeks to optimize water supplies for irrigation with the help of satellite data.

It will be providing farmers, agricultural development offices, basin agencies as well as the Moroccan ministry of agriculture with specific information to help them build better and more profound irrigation strategies.

The new program supports the satellite for irrigation scheduling (SAT’IRR) project which was initiated by CESBIO in collaboration with the Cadi Ayad university of Marrakech.

The SAT’IRR method calculates a daily water balance at the scale of user plots. A water balance is calculated by comparing crop development predicted from meteorological and satellite data to optimal crop development.

‘Space for climate observatory’ (SCO) explained that the objective is to predict the date and quantity of the next irrigation within four days’ notice.

The software used, developed from purely open-source resources, was designed to be storage-efficient so that it could run on a small server.

The SAT’IRR platform has already been tested in several countries besides Morocco like Spain, France, Tunisia, and Lebanon, without facing any technical or practical problems, and its web interface is aimed at farmers.

IRRISAT project hopes to implement a system for producing biophysical parameters adapted for atmospheric disturbances, it also hopes to develop an interface allowing the intermediate user (ministerial departments, agencies, agricultural offices, and agri-expert companies) to enter their own data (spatial definition and parameterization of the plot (soil, crop, sowing, etc.) ), local weather station, irrigation events, etc.) and retrieve the results (plot thumbnails, model output) for their own uses.

It will be operating in the region of Tadla, Sbou, and Berrchid as stated by SCO.

Back in April, a report by the International Monetary showed that investing in irrigation could help address the gap between water demand and supply in the agriculture sector, reduce the rise in public debt, and provide margins for financing relief measures in the post-disaster period.

The International Monetary Fund warned that climate change and the resulting drought could lead to food security concerns, and called on countries to invest in water infrastructure, particularly dams and irrigation systems, to reduce the impact of drought on macroeconomic performance.

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