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The Netherlands To Use Satellite Technology To Combat Global Hunger

The Netherlands wants closer collaboration between tech companies and civil society organizations to tackle food shortages in developing countries

22Dec

Lilianne Ploumen went to the climate change meetup in Marrakesh. While there, she followed up on the agenda that was initiated last year in Paris. She currently serves as the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Dutch people. She made an announcement of a host of solutions she believes could have a major impact on how developing countries practice agriculture. She is making an effort to get individuals and businesses to be responsible for their actions when it comes to climate change.

Climate Change Threat

For people living in developed countries, it is a simple matter to take the steady food supply for granted. If they want something, they need only hop in a vehicle and head into the supermarket, or if they are 'poor' for their nation, they can take a brief walk to a convenience store. Many farmers around the world face a truly dire situation, and their situation may soon affect the rest of the world. There is the threat of flooding, rising temperatures and drought.

Minister Ploumen says it is the people who are the poorest and living in the poorest countries who suffer the most from climate change. She gives the example that smallholders living in Mozambique are barely able to afford a living because their fields are barren due to constant drought. She pleads with the international community to help in any way it can. National governments in the impoverished nations are doing what they can, but it may not be enough.

Geodata for Agriculture and Water Programme

The Netherlands Space Office is managing a fund of 20 million euros which will be used by the Geodata for Agriculture and Water Programme (G4AW).

The goal of this program is to connect telecoms, banks, seed producers, suppliers, NGOs, satellite data companies and more in an effort to enhance farming methods. The hope is that food can be produced more cheaply, efficiently and in greater volumes in the countries where need is greatest.

Through the use of satellite technology and apps on their cellphones, farmers of cattle have the ability to check if there is water available for those cattle. They can then infer the best places for the cattle to feed themselves. Another feature is a price check for the local market. It will be easier for farmers to decide when and where to sell their goods in the market. Accurate results in meteorology will play a role in improving farming conditions too. By improving this technology, smallholder farmers will be able to take out insurance that is more affordable for them. The insurance will be based upon accurate meteorological data so the premiums will be set properly for drought risk. Many of these satellites will operate in the Ka Band.

Partnership with the Dutch

Minister Ploumen said she had hopes for the Dutch agricultural industry to partner with Africa and China to improve bamboo production. This increase in production could act as a safeguard against deforestation and improve the earning potential of the local farmers. In her agenda, the topic of palm oil production came up. Unfortunately, much of the national forests are being lost due to this industry. Large palm oil companies need to work hand in hand with the government of the Netherlands to produce palm oil in ways that are more sustainable. She hopes to find some companies that are willing to cooperate.

Lastly, the minister spoke on the topic of business incentives. She strongly felt that Dutch businesses should work together with companies in other industries. By doing this, everyone will be able to earn attractive profit margins. It is thought that through renewal, cleaner and more efficient sources of energy could have global sales volume of $18 trillion dollars when the year 2035 comes around. This industry is only valued at 5.5 billion dollars at this time, but it will grow at a rate of 3% each year.

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