Cooperation in action

Harvest monitoring by satellite

Reliable harvest forecasts for governments, quick assistance for rice farmers

Rice harvest in Bangladesh

Rice is one of the main staple crops in the world, and it is the main source of income for farmers in Asia. However, the entire region is faced with extreme weather conditions. Time and again, entire harvests are wiped out by floods, typhoons and droughts.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the software company Sarmap SA, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Swiss Re have entered into a partnership called RIICE. Its purpose is to help rice farmers and governments in South-East Asia and India to monitor rice production through satellite images. The satellites gather data on some 15 million hectares of rice fields in Cambodia, India, Thailand and Viet Nam. They provide information on the timing of the planting, the area planted, crop development, and expected yields. This enables governments and insurance companies to assess the extent of crop losses, droughts and floods quickly, eliminating the need for an insurance worker to assess the damage. Thus, farmers can receive compensation more quickly, which makes their income more predictable.

In November 2015, satellite data helped assess the extent of damage after severe flooding in the State of Tamil Nadu, India, within a few days, so that rice farmers were able to receive new seeds and seedlings. It was also in Tamil Nadu that, following a disastrous drought, RIICE made it possible for some 15,000 rice farmers to receive an average of 200 euros per person for lost crops in the period up to June 2017. It may be expected that in this State alone, up to 800,000 insured rice farmers will benefit from the scheme in the future.

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