The programme will allow generating a solid and validated pixel based methodological framework to assess and monitor land and, more specifically, water productivity. By providing near real time pixel information, the methodological framework will open the door for service-providers to assist farmers in obtaining more reliable yields and improving their livelihoods. At the same time, irrigation authorities will have access to information to modernize their irrigation schemes and government agencies will be able to use the information to promote and increase the efficient use of their natural resources. FAO will be responsible for the implementation of the programme, which will last until October 2019. The main partners for the implementation will be UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
The programme outcome will consist of an action framework to provide relevant and specific information on water and biomass status for stakeholders at different scales - from the policy level to the farm level - to develop workable solutions to sustainably increase agricultural land and water productivity.
The framework is based on robust state of the art Remote Sensing and Information and Communication Technologies, combined with in-situ data. It will be used to assess the terrestrial soil water balance and related biomass production to monitor agricultural land and water productivity, as well as the uptake of carbon dioxide by vegetation.
The programme foresees four outputs:
- An open-access database, covering Africa and the Near East, with (mainly) Remotely Sensed data, to monitor, in near real time, agricultural water and land productivity as well carbon dioxide uptake by vegetation;
- An assessment, in space and time, of agricultural water and land productivity, productivity gaps and capacity development to close these gaps;
- An assessment, through water accounting, of the consequences and sustainability of possible increases in water productivity in agriculture;
- Capacity development of stakeholders to increase water productivity sustainably.