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ISNET Activities >> Activities 2012


ISNET/CSE Workshop on Applications of Space Technology for Food Security
9-14 July 2012; Dakar, Senegal


Inter Islamic Network on Space Sciences & Technology (ISNET), in collaboration with Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) of Senegal, with advisory support of Ministerial Standing Committee for Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and generous co-sponsorship of Islamic Development Bank (IDB), held a 6-day ISNET/CSE Workshop on Applications of Space Technology for Food Security, from 9 to 14 July 2012 in Dakar, Senegal. The event was held at Cheikh Anta DIOP University and King Fhad Palace Hotel.

The Workshop had two parts: a two-day thematic seminar was followed by four days of training course featuring lectures and hands-on exercises. The seminar centered on sharing of knowledge and experience of, as well as deepening technical insight into modern practices of managing and improving agricultural productivity to improve food security using space technology. It also served to update researchers and scientists from OIC countries on satellite-enabled methodologies currently being employed in order to bring about positive changes in agricultural crop yield and productivity thereby improving regional food security. The training course, however, aimed at building capacity and developing capability in the applications of Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) technology for crop monitoring and yield estimation.

Workshop Proceedings

The event began with an inauguration ceremony presided by H.E. Mr. M. Ismaila DIOP, Deputy Minister of Ecology and Protection of Nature of the Republic of Senegal. Dr Assize TOURE, Director General CSE delivered the Welcome Address. In his address, Dr TOURE sought to establish nexus between the activities of CSE and objectives of ISNET. Mr Ahmed Bilal, President ISNET and Chairman SUPARCO, also delivered a speech in which he stressed upon the need for member states to connect with one another, establish meaningful cooperation and collaboration, and undertake bilateral and multilateral projects in order to improve food security. Chief Guest of the ceremony, H.E. Mr. M. Ismaila DIOP, in his address, highlighted the role of space technology and its applications for development of agriculture and conservation of natural resources. Appreciating the timely organisation of the Workshop, he said that similar events should be held more frequently so that the vast disparity in technological expertise and capacity among different countries of the OIC region could be bridged. The deputy minister also appreciated both ISNET and CSE for organising the event and thanked IDB for its financial support. The opening ceremony was duly publicised by electronic and press media.

  President ISNET delivering his speech at the inauguration ceremony.

From Right to Left: Director General CSE, Dr Assize TOURE; His Excellency Deputy Miister of Environment and Protection of Nature of Senegal, Mr Ismaila DIOP; President ISNET, Mr Ahmed Bilal

The seminar session of the workshop began with a keynote address by Mr Arshad H Siraj, Executive Director ISNET. Besides making a strong case for enhancing inter-agency collaboration and strengthening international cooperation in the use of Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) for agricultural applications, he also highlighted the crucial importance of food supply chain and its security for sustainable development in the OIC region. Country reports from representatives from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan and Tunisia were also delivered during the session. The rest of the opening day as well as the second day were dedicated to scientific and technical presentations by researchers, engineers and technologists from participating OIC member countries which included Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan and Tunisia. The presentations comprised five distinct themes: agricultural landuse; crop identification and monitoring; production area and yield estimation; soil and land agro-meteorological data; and damage assessment. A special project presentation was also delivered by Mr Malick DIAGNE of CSE titled, ‘Africa Risk View: The African Risk Capacity - A Pan African Risk Pool for Climate Risk’.
  Workshop participants posing for a group photograph outside King Fhad Palace Hotel  

At the end of the two-day seminar that featured twenty-three presentations, an hour-long interactive session was held in which recommendations of the seminar were discussed. The participants acknowledged and recognized the definition of food security as proposed and provided by World Food Summit, 1996. It was noted that the problem of food insecurity was of grave concern in developing countries and that governments needed to take necessary measures and formulate optimal policies to ensure food security through balancing of the three pillars of food security system viz, food availability, food access, and food utilization. Appreciating the synoptic coverage of the remotely-sensed data and GIS capabilities as highly useful, it was recommended that Geo-information-based tools should be developed for food security monitoring. Besides, considering the effectiveness of geospatial technologies to address issues related to food insecurity, it was recommended that efforts must be made to create and promote the awareness of usefulness of such technologies among policy- and decision-makers in ISNET member states. Owing to the fact that water resource management and food security are deeply interlinked, it was recommended that ISNET must hold a seminar or workshop which addressed both these issues holistically.

The following three days were devoted to training and hands-on exercises on the application of Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) for crop monitoring and yield estimation. The training course was primarily conducted by Prof Dr Mobushir Riaz Khan, Assistant Professor at COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr Muhammad Hanif, Agriculture Consultant, Mr Ibrar ul Hassan Akhtar, Manager, and Mr Obaid ur Rehman, Assistant Manager from Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) also contributed to the training workshop.

  Pictures from the four-day training sessions of Workshop  

On the fourth and final day of the Workshop, an interactive session was held to finalise recommendations. The participants, while appreciating the importance of ground-based surveys, noted that satellite-based hyper-temporal remote sensing for crop and agro-meteorological analysis and area frame development has immense potential in the generation of accurate, reliable and unbiased agricultural data. They unanimously recommended that ISNET should organise training courses on modern remote sensing techniques such as Microwave remote sensing; Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR); and Hyper-spectral remote sensing. ISNET Secretariat agreed to make concerted efforts to put together a basic level training course on Hyper-spectral remote sensing in an ISNET member state in near future.

The Workshop concluded with distribution of certificates to participants of the training workshop by Dr Assize TOURE.


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