With almost 170 million residents, Bangladesh is likely one of the most densely populated nations on the earth. Practically half of its residents work on or stay round farms, and rice crops are crucial to feeding that inhabitants.
So when researchers from the College of Washington and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Agriculture joined forces to make use of information from NASA and its companions to assist the nation’s rice farmers, the potential profit was substantial. Via their IRAS program, brief for the Built-in Rice Advisory System, researchers from UW and Bangladesh use satellite tv for pc information to ship data to farmers about how a lot water they’re utilizing, how a lot they’ve, and the way a lot their crops want.
Rice is an important crop in Bangladesh, and cultivating it requires a number of water and gasoline. Throughout the nation’s dry season, which takes place from January to June, farmers usually pump groundwater from aquifers. Pumping is dear, and it normally requires burning fuels that launch carbon dioxide into the environment.
“To create sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture for the long run, we have to reduce irrigation waste and de-carbonize the manufacturing by utilizing reasonably priced options that may be scaled globally,” stated Faisal Hossain, professor of civil and environmental engineering on the College of Washington and chief of IRAS.
The IRAS workforce accomplished its first nationwide effort in June 2023, offering advisories on irrigation must greater than 10 million farmers throughout Bangladesh.
Hossain and the IRAS workforce estimate that this system has the potential to scale back agricultural water waste in Bangladesh by about 30%, scale back agricultural gasoline consumption by 45%, save $115 million yearly in gasoline subsidies, and scale back carbon emissions by 300,000 tons per yr.
How IRAS works
IRAS analyzes particular satellite tv for pc information to craft irrigation advisories for customers round Bangladesh. The advisories inform farmers how a lot water they want for his or her crops based mostly on precipitation and groundwater measurements within the space. They’ll additionally report whether or not individuals in a area have beforehand over- or under-irrigated their fields.
A number of the information for the advisories comes from the NASA/USGS Landsat mission; researchers use that imagery and information to find out the water use at farming places. Different information come from GPM, or World Precipitation Measurement, a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company. GPM tracks the entire quantity of precipitation within the space.
These datasets are then mixed with data from GFS, the World Forecast System, produced by the U.S. Nationwide Climate Service. GFS gives precipitation forecasts for the upcoming week. These datasets and reviews are evaluated and assembled by agricultural specialists in Bangladesh, making a complete advisory and proposals for farmers that’s particular to their location.
“The synergistic use of Landsat, GPM, and GFS may also help the world turn out to be extra water-efficient and energy-efficient in rising meals, whereas additionally turning into extra reasonably priced and handy for farmers,” Hossain stated.
Human impacts, now and later
“After I see my work positively impacting somebody, even when it is only a single particular person, it brings me pleasure,” stated Shahzaib Khan, a graduate analysis pupil with Hossain on the College of Washington. “To see this work impacting so many individuals, that’s past phrases.”
Khan labored straight with employees at Bangladesh’s Division of Agricultural Extension, in addition to the nation’s Agro-Meteorological Info Service, to develop and set up the IRAS system.
Hossain and the workforce goal to develop the attain of IRAS within the coming years. As a result of NASA and Landsat datasets are free and accessible to the general public, the doorways are open to growing comparable cost-effective applications. As an example, sugar cane—which is commonly grown in locations like Africa, South Asia, and Indonesia—is one other water-intensive crop that would profit from a program like IRAS.
“Our hope is that this template could be utilized to any area the place we all know what crop is being grown and what their crop water demand traits are,” Hossain stated.
NASA information helps Bangladeshi farmers save water, cash, vitality (2023, August 4)
retrieved 4 August 2023
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