Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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June 25, 2021
UP42 Teams with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to Support Agricultural Start-Ups in Africa

Strategic Collaboration to Empower Smallholder Farms with Geospatial Tech

BERLIN, Germany – UP42 has teamed with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to promote technical entrepreneurship in Africa’s agricultural sector by making geospatial technology available to local farming-related start-up businesses under the GIZ Make-IT in Africa project.

Smallholder farms across Africa lack the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure that can deliver digital agricultural services related to weather forecasts, cultivation techniques, and market conditions. Through this program, UP42 is providing technical consulting along with access to its developer platform for Earth observation data and analytics.

“Make-IT in Africa’s objectives align perfectly with UP42’s goal of democratizing access to the valuable information derived from Earth observation data,” said UP42 CEO Sean Wiid. “In partnership with GIZ, we are putting crop insights into the hands of small African farmers and the organizations that support them.”

An initiative of the GIZ, Make-IT in Africa seeks to bridge this gap by providing business training and technical support to local start-ups that in turn can offer commercial agriculture services to growers in their areas. GIZ is implementing the initiative as part of the Make-IT in Africa project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“We support start-ups to gain more users and explore new business opportunities. To this end, we build capacities in the area of data analytics, interoperability and business modelling”, said Marc Hümmer, advisor at Make-IT in Africa. “We want to facilitate the cooperation between start-ups and platform operators, such as UP42, to fully leverage the potential of digital products and service delivery.”

UP42 democratizes geospatial technologies by giving users direct access to extensive Earth observation datasets and advanced processing algorithms – along with cloud computing power – to create their own geospatial solutions easily and inexpensively. Rather than buy large satellite image data sets or invest in expensive processing software and computing infrastructure, UP42 users purchase just the imagery and analytical resources required by their project, regardless of its size.

In mid-2020, UP42 technical personnel provided hands-on training to program start-ups on the selection of satellite images and application of processing analytics. This instruction emphasized building custom agriculture solutions on the UP42 Application Programming Interface (API) for development of commercial services.

Three start-ups utilized the UP42 platform in building their businesses, which they will continue to focus on in 2021:

Crop2Cash in Nigeria is developing a credit scoring model based on historical times-series data of farm performance derived from archived satellite imagery to make it easier for financial institutions to finance smallholder farms. For many small farm fields, the only verifiable source of historical yield data is archived satellite imagery. Visit www.crop2cash.com.ng.

HeHe in Rwanda is digitizing Africa’s trade ecosystem by creating new supply chain and logistics technologies that match supply and demand. This enables growers to expand markets and reach customers more efficiently. UP42 is supporting HeHe in the development of yield prediction algorithms so that delivering crops to consumers can be anticipated and planned in advance. Visit https://about.hehe.rw/.

GrowForMe of Ghana is building a sponsorship agriculture model where investors can fund specific smallholder farms in Africa. The farmer uses the funding to expand their existing operations, and the investor receives a share of the profit after harvest. UP42 is helping to enhance the GrowForMe online platform with integrated weather data and other information so that both farmer and investor can monitor growing conditions throughout the season. Visit www.growforme.com/en/.

“In our quest to match demand and supply, there was a clear gap in our solution when it came to predicting supply. Remote sensing offered us the opportunity to bridge this gap and create more robust agriculture supply chains,” said Clarisse Iribagiza, Founder & CEO of HeHe. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with GIZ and UP42 to enhance our solution and address issues such as post-harvest losses and food insecurity on the continent. We look forward to making geospatial data accessible and usable for farmers in Africa while building sustainable business models around this data.”

Make-IT in Africa participants – and all UP42 customers – have a variety of Earth observation information to choose from on the UP42 marketplace, including Pleiades 1A/B, SPOT 6/7, Landsat-8, KOMPSAT, TerraSar-X, Sentinel-2 and MODIS satellite imagery, HxGN and Getmapping aerial data, Intermap DEMs, exactEarth AIS data, and Meteomatics weather and ocean data.

Leveraging these datasets, users may apply more than 70 geospatial analytics processes, including machine learning algorithms, to automatically find features, count objects, detect change, uncover patterns, classify land use, and derive vegetative indices.

For more information on UP42 Earth observation datasets and processing algorithms, visit www.up42.com.

About GIZ

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. We support the German Government in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education activities around the globe. Through our work we assist people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.

About UP42

UP42 is changing the way geospatial data is accessed and analyzed. The platform and marketplace bring together multiple sources of data such as satellite imagery, weather data, and more—together with algorithms to identify objects, detect change, and find patterns. Industry leaders use UP42 to inform business decisions and build scalable customer solutions. Know when and where to fertilize crops. Measure air quality and map emissions. Count cars, trucks, planes, and ships. Developers and data scientists across all industries now have access to a platform to build, run, and scale projects in one place. Visit www.up42.com.

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