FAO woos space agency to boost food production
DETERMINED to boost agricultural yield and food security in the country, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking the support of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
FAO Country Representative, Dr. Louise Setswhaelo, during a courtesy visit to the National headquarters of the Agency in Abuja yesterday said there is need for collaboration since NASRDA has the potentials to optimize the work which they are doing, and can support them in areas of forecasting crop harvest, early warning, and can also provide satellite imageries on illegal foreign fishing vessels on African waters.
Setshwaelo in a statement signed by the NASRDA’s Deputy Director of Media and Corporate Communications, Felix Ale, described NASRDA as a novel achievement in the developmental history of Nigeria and indeed Africa. “I am overwhelmed by the immense activities and capabilities of the Agency. NASRDA has the brains, which should be rapidly harnessed for the development of the African continent.”
Setshwaelo said the Agency is a pride to Africa and should play a strategic role in the activities of the Food and Agriculture organization given that most of their activities are focused in the area of environment and water resources.
She further emphasized that the Space Agency has the technology to curb the illegality on our waters as the organization is currently looking at that in their framework.
Director-General of NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Onailo Mohammed, said with the 2.5m panchromatic and 5m multi-spectral capabilities of the NigeriaSat-2, the Agency can efficiently carry out soil characterization which will help in land evaluation to aid farmers in realizing optimal yield.
He said NASRDA is already involved in the flood-plain farming, known as Fadama where imageries are provided to help farmers understand the suitability of flood-plain for rice production.
Mohammed said with the Agency’s mandate to attain space capabilities for the socio-economic improvement of the nation and the lives of the people especially in areas that border on human life of which agriculture is paramount; and that the agency is poised to train and re-train its staff to acquire the knowledge base.
“25 year roadmap of the agency will place the agency at par with other space faring nations, and with the procurement of a Synthetic Aperture Radar in 2015, the mangrove and the marine belt will be effectively covered to curb illegal fishing currently experienced on our waters,” he said.