The core innovation in TAMASA project is application of geospatial technologies and modern tools to enhance maize agronomy at scale. As a core component of this, TAMASA Nigeria is leading an unprecedented multi-location acquisition of low-altitude fine resolution imageries with unmanned air vehicles (UAV), also called “Drones”, within maize-based farming systems. The innovative application of UAV in maize-based smallholder farming systems is targeted towards:
- Mapping the extent of maize-planted lands and assessing the dynamics of change over time.
- Estimating maize yield at scale by relating field-measured parameters (including NDVI and LAI) to spatially explicit UAV-derived estimates at various locations.
- In the long-term, developing platform for near-real-time risk monitoring, market intelligence, and early warning systems by relating other spatially explicit variables (such as weather and soil properties) to yield indicators (such as NDVI) across large farming landscapes.
In order to deliver on these core objectives and to institutionalize the deliverables, TAMASA-Nigeria collaborates with Universities and designated governmental institutions that share similar mandates within the maize-target region. By collaborating with Bayero University Kano, which is the major TAMASA project implementation partner in Nigeria, we co-organized training on UAV flight mission planning and data collection, and also developed hands-on capabilities for researchers to implement flight missions. Further, in order to strengthen the ability of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to replicate our approach and methods beyond TAMASA’s focal area and project timeframe, we established an MoU with the agency for collaboration on field data collection. Hence, we work closely with BUK researchers and NASRDA staff to collect our data and share resources.