Crop mapping and zoning for strengthening sustainable agricultural practices and policy support through Earth observation applications in Pakistan

Date 11 Aug 2022 to 12 Aug 2021
Venue Islamabad, Pakistan
Contact Persons servirhkh@icimod.org
Type Workshop
Programmes SERVIR-HKH

Crop mapping and zoning

About the workshop

Capitalizing on recent advancements in artificial intelligence, Earth Observation big data, and cloud-computing platforms, the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) are working together to develop innovative data-science solutions that can support agricultural planning and food security assessments under ICIMOD’s SERVIR-HKH Initiative, a joint partnership between USAID and NASA. This collaboration also contributes to the scientific knowledge base on sustainable agricultural practices and policy formulation to ensure long-term food security in Pakistan.

Objectives

The overall objective of the consultation workshop is to engage key stakeholders and share the latest tools and innovations in EO, and identify the needs, opportunities, and complementarities to promote the use of EO tools and technologies in agricultural planning and policy formulation. The specific objectives include the following:

  • Share knowledge on recent innovations in EO tools and technologies and their effectiveness in the agricultural planning and policy formulation
  • Explore potential opportunities in the use of EO for key institutional functions in Pakistan’s agriculture sector
  • Review the current data inventory to update agro-ecological zones of Pakistan and identify the potential data contributions from relevant agencies
  • Deliberate on field data collection approaches for resource pooling and data-sharing mechanisms

Expected participants

Participants from national/provincial agencies and non-governmental organizations working in the areas of agriculture, climate change, food security, water, and irrigation are expected to  attend the workshop. 

Background

Pakistan’s agriculture sector plays a central role in the country’s economy as it contributes to about 19% of the gross domestic product and absorbs 42% of the labour force. Pakistan is presently self-sufficient in the production of major staple crops and is ranked 8th in wheat production, 10th in rice production, 5th in sugarcane production, and 4th in milk production. Despite these strong production figures, only 63.1% of the country’s households are food secure. In recent years, rapid economic development and urbanization have added more complexities to the food security challenge as these activities compete with the agriculture sector for finite land resources. As Pakistan’s agriculture depends on snow and glacial melt water resources for irrigation, the impacts of climate change are manifold. The projected changes in the future availability of meltwater and groundwater depletion may severely limit the agriculture sector’s ability to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population. A clear understanding of cropping patterns and historic changes along with the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of agricultural land use change in the region is essential to prepare well-informed policies.

Monitoring and estimating crop acreage and yield at a national scale is required to determine the national or regional food demand and supply balance, and to gauge food security. Whether during times of global food shortages or during periods of surplus, monitoring and estimating crop acreage requires long-term efforts. Along with food shortages resulting from an increased frequency and magnitude of extreme events, unsustainable agriculture practices like over-extraction of water, crop intensification, exhaustive use of chemical fertilizers, and virtual water trade damage ecosystem services and impair the long-term capacity to sustain high agricultural outputs.

With the recent advancements in EO technologies including freely available high-resolution satellite data, availability of machine-learning algorithms, and easy access to cloud-computing platforms like the Google Earth Engine, establishing systematic crop monitoring systems has now become feasible at lower costs and with greater efficiency. Such systems can greatly help perform in-season crop management and aid production-related decisions. In addition, long-term historic satellite data and land use modelling can be effectively utilized to quantify changes in croplands, review their current environmental suitability, and assess future implications to inform long-term decisions on agricultural land use policy and sustainability.

Tentative agenda

  • DAY 1 – 11 August 2021, Opening session

    Time

    Activity

    Speaker/facilitator

    09:30–10:00

    Arrival of guests and registration

     

    10:00–10:05

    Recitation of the Quran

    Qari Sahib

    10:05–10:10

    Workshop objectives and expectations

    Bashir Ahmad, Director, Climate, Energy & Water Research Institute (CWERI), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Pakistan

    10:10–10:20

    Welcome

    Muhammad Azeem Khan Chairman, PARC, Pakistan

    10:20–10:30

    Opening remarks

    Pema Gyamtsho, Director General, ICIMOD, Nepal

    10:30–10:50

    Remarks by the Chief Guest

    H.E. Dr Sania Nishtar, Federal Minister, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Ministry, Pakistan

    10:50–10:55

    Vote of thanks

    Muhammad Ismail, Country Representative, Pakistan office, ICIMOD

    10:55–11:30

    Group photo and refreshments

  • DAY 1 – 11 August 2021, Technical session

    Time

    Programme

    Speaker/facilitator

    11:30–11:45

    Key priorities and challenges in agricultural planning and food security in Pakistan

    Bashir Ahmad, CEWRI, PARC

    11:45–13:00

    Application of artificial intelligence for agricultural planning: Lessons from the US Department of Agriculture

    Liping Di, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems (CSISS), George Mason University, USA

    Application of Earth observation for crop monitoring and climate risk preparedness: Learning from NASA SERVIR-HKH Initiative

    Faisal M. Qamer, ICIMOD

    Big data and cloud computing application for mapping crop intensification in Pakistan

    Sawaid Abbas, PolyU Remote Sensing Laboratory, Hong Kong, China

    13:00–14:00

    Lunch

    14:00–15:00

    Climate projections and their impacts on cropping practices in Pakistan

    Ghulam Rasul, ICIMOD

    New agro-ecological zonation to support sustainable agriculture practices in Pakistan

    Arshad Ashraf, CEWRI, PARC, Pakistan

    15:00–15:30

    Tea break

     

    15:30–17:00

    i) Group work on current crop monitoring mechanisms and emerging needs in Pakistan

    ii) Group work on stakeholders’ experts input on the validation of new Agro-Ecological Zones developed by PARC

    Key agriculture sector stakeholders in Pakistan

  • DAY 2 – 12 August 2021, Technical session

    Time

    Programme

    Speaker/facilitator

    09:30–09:45

    Day 1 – Recap

    Bashir Ahmad, CEWRI, PARC, Pakistan

    Group work-1 presentation

    Key agriculture sector stakeholders in Pakistan

    09:45–10:30

    Use of ICT and mobile apps for field data collection and sharing

    Sreten Cvetojevic, CSISS, George Mason University, USA

    10:30–10:45

    Tea break

    10:45–11:00

    Agriculture dashboard outlook

    Bashir Ahmad, CEWRI, PARC, Pakistan

    11:00–11:20

    Regional Drought Monitoring and Outlook System for South Asia and its climate data products

    Mir Matin, ICIMOD

    11:20–11:45

    Basis and criteria of crop zones development in Pakistan

    Arshad Ashraf, CEWRI, PARC, Pakistan

    11:45–12:45

    Group work on existing data inventories on crop types, water availability, soil, etc. and collaborative mechanisms for data sharing and new data collection missions

    Key agriculture sector stakeholders in Pakistan

    12:45–13:45

    Lunch

     

    13:45–14:45

    Concluding session

     

    Welcome

    Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman PARC

    Synthesis of the consultation workshop

    Birendra Bajracharya, Chief of Party – SERVIR-HKH, ICIMOD

    Way forward

    Sarfraz Ahmad, Member Natural Resources, PARC

     

    Remarks by the Chief Guest

    Jamshed lqbal Cheema, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security, Pakistan

     

    Vote of thanks

    Syed Shamim-ul-Sibtain Shah, Director General, NARC

    14:45–15:15

    Tea break

     

  • DAY 2 – 12 August 2021, Closing session

    Time

    Activity

    Speaker/facilitator

    13:45–13:55

    Welcome

    Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman PARC

    13:55–14:10

    Synthesis of the consultation workshop

    Birendra Bajracharya, ICIMOD

    14:10–14:20

    Way forward

    Sarfraz Ahmad, Member Natural Resources, PARC

    14:20–14:40

    Remarks by the Chief Guest

    Honourable Jamshed lqbal Cheema, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security

    14:40–14:50

    Vote of thanks

    Syed Shamim-ul-Sibtain Shah, Director General, NARC

    14:50–15:20

    Tea and snacks